Thaler Podcast on Libertarian Paternalism

by F.

Richard Thaler is a behavioral economist at the Chicago GSB. In this podcast, he talks to economist Russ Roberts about his ideas. Were this a debate, I would give the advantage to Thaler. See what you think.

Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business defends the idea of libertarian paternalism–how government might use the insights of behavioral economics to help citizens make better choices. Host Russ Roberts accepts the premise that individuals make imperfect choices but challenges Thaler on the likelihood that government, in practice, will improve matters. Along the way they discuss the design of Sweden’s social security system, organ donations and whether professors at Cornell University are more or less like you and me.

Thaler serves up a wonderful riposte at one point about the flaws of introspective reasoning. Listen for it. The entire Podcast is about one hour long, a perfect accompaniment to dinner.