Should (and Could) We Ban Prescriptions?

  title={Should (and Could) We Ban Prescriptions?},
  author={Matteo G. Richiardi},
  journal={The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis \& Policy},
  • Matteo G. Richiardi
  • Published 21 January 2009
  • Economics
  • The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy
Abstract In a simple model of social interaction I analyze the welfare effects of positive (prescriptive) and negative (proscriptive) social norms, together with the private incentives for their enactment. I find that imposing no law is socially optimal when individual actions have no significant externalities, while bans become socially optimal as the externalities increase. Prescriptions are generally the worst choice, except when the externalities involved are very high. However, in the… 

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