In this brief essay, we wish to highlight some insights from behavioural economics that can contribute to a successful process of international pandemic lawmaking. Our interest here is not to engage with individual or collective psychological reactions to pandemics or other large-scale risks, or with substantive policy made in their wake. Several such behavioural issues and dimensions have been dealt with elsewhere, not without (ongoing) spirited debate. Here, however, while building on related frameworks of analysis from the field of behavioral economics, as applied to international law (including nudge theory), our focus is on the process and design of pandemic international law-making. Continue reading >>
Nudges with paternalistic aims pose special legal problems in liberal States. Surprisingly, the discussion on regulation-by-nudging has not focused on the constitutional limits to nudging. Although the property rights of firms potentially infringed by nudging measures are dealt with in the literature and by (international) courts (e.g. the tobacco cases), the potential infringement of the rights of those being nudged is neglected. But judges may at one point be confronted with a nudge regulation challenged by the individuals being nudged; and even before reaching a court, the legality of nudging should be scrutinised by legislators. I explore the legal limits of paternalistic nudging under the German Constitution, especially the right to freedom of action and self-determination under Art. 2 (1) German Basic Law.
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