Thursday, September 14, 2006


Paternalistic Endeavors

Do we have any evidence to actually suggest that the public policy to "educate" individuals about reducing consumption of allegedly dangerous goods and services (tobacco, lottery, alcohol, illicit drugs) is effective?

I know that the US government has spent billions of dollars on many paternalistic endeavors and I think most individuals would call it a substantial failure. Has anything changed? Why should the outcome be any different now?

Here's a new BBC article about "educating" youth.

I know the TRUTH campaign (and other similar private endevours) have comissioned effectiveness studies. But I havn't heard of any for done for goverment school programs.

I would imagine it's harder to measure because "teaching" content would differ from school to school where as everyone sees the same TRUTH ad.

It's an interesting question. And like most interesting questions I doubt there is a good answer for it. :P
What about when the government educates you on how to drive? Anyone remember the "Esuvee" campaign? I bet they spent a lot of money on this Esuvee website. Lame.
But hey, what about McGruff? McGruff was hip, like Kojak. Weren't those ads government funded?
Does paternalism have any benefits, even within families? Internalization of virtues MAY occur when those virtues are demonstrated in an imitable way, but mere verbalization of VALUES would have little carry-over. PK's, pastor's kids are well-known within church circles to be especially rebellious.
I had to look up the word imitable. Good word, Nathan.
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