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Archive for January 8th, 2009

Cass Sunstein, Harvard law professor and Obama advisor, will head the OIRA.

I have devoted several posts in the past on Sunstein and his brand of behavorial economics. He is the author of the book Nudge and the originator of the misleading term ‘libertarian paternalism’ (which should probably be renamed non-coercive paternalism, soft paternalism or choice-preserving paternalism). Will Wilkinson wrote an excellent (and fairly critical) review of Nudge in Reason magazine; it should be mandatory reading for anyone who wishes to know more about the pros and cons of the idea.

In short, Sunstein is no libertarian. What is important though — as Eugene Volokh puts it — is that he is brilliant, thoughtful, and ideologically probably as good as libertarians can hope for from the Obama administration. He is in my view the best pick Obama has unveiled so far.

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