The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

911. Cass R. Sunstein, ‘Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do!’ On the Intrinsic Value of Control, 06/2017; forthcoming in Introduction, Behavioral Economics Guide 2017.

Abstract: For most people, control has some intrinsic value; people care about maintaining it and will pay something to do so. Whenever a private or public institution blocks choices or interferes with agency, some people will rebel, even if exercising control would not result in material benefits or might produce material harms. On the other hand, people sometimes want to relinquish control, because exercising agency is burdensome or costly. This essay explores when rational and boundedly rational people will prefer to maintain or exercise control and when they will prefer to delegate it.

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