Online experiment is carried out in three countries to examine the non-material welfare implications of libertarian-paternalistic (soft) government interventions. The authors investigate people’s attitudes towards such interventions and their choices in several hypothetical scenarios of government involvement. The authors identify a significant proportion of people who (1) think negatively of soft government interventions, (2) forgo the encouraged action presumably in protest against such government interventions even though they would have chosen it otherwise, or (3) prefer the government to only provide information to the public in order to influence their choices rather than an intervention with a more effective choice architecture. The above findings illuminate the potential welfare loss of a non-negligible portion of the population caused by soft government interventions.
Link to paper