Not So Fast ‘Libertarian Paternalism’: Arrow, Nash, and Sen on Minimal Liberalism and Collective Choice

On April 17th, S. M. Amadae will be giving a talk, “Not So Fast ‘Libertarian Paternalism’:  Arrow, Nash, and Sen on Minimal Liberalism and Collective Choice”, as part of the Freedom Center Colloquium Series. Professor Amadae is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. Please join us in the Kendrick Room at the Freedom Center for Professor Amadae’s talk!

This paper uses the Arrow Impossibility Theorem, Nash Bargaining Solution, and Sen’s Paretian Liberal Paradox to investigate liberalism’s contemporary arrest between Hobbesian dictatorship, Lockean universalism, and Rawlsian homogeneity.  I suggest that in following classical liberalism’s division of labor between perfect and imperfect duties on the one hand, and public and private spheres of action, on the other, it may be possible to use the Nash bargaining solution to resolve a subclass of problems in which a normative and de facto threat point coincide.  In conclusion I ask whether Sunstein and Thaler’s “libetrarian paternalism” can cut through the thicket of challenges identified by the Arrow and Sen theorems.