Rawls argued that leisure should be treated as one of the ‘primary goods’ whose distribution is a matter of social justice. If someone chooses not to work, he should be deemed to have received resources equal in value to a basic wage and so to have no further claim on society: ‘Those who surf all day off Malibu must find a way to support themselves’.
By Robert Sugden – University of East Anglia
Shaun Hargreaves Heap argues for a constitutional approach to ‘behavioural public policy’. His starting point is a problem in the design and evaluation of public policies. Economists have traditionally assumed that people have well-defined preferences and then worked out how those preferences can best be satisfied, but behavioural economics is showing that those assumed preferences often do not exist. A new approach is urgently needed. I completely agree. Hargreaves Heap’s proposed approach is constitutional or procedural: public policy should be concerned with setting the general rules within which individuals make their own choices, rather than with trying to bring about particular outcomes. Again, I completely agree. I have been arguing for this kind of approach since 2004.
I was surprised to find Hargreaves Heap attributing to me the view that people’s lack of well-defined preferences is ‘a reason against policy intervention…
View original post 1,033 more words