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Cass R. Sunstein, Welfare Now, 72 Duke L. J. 1643 (2023).

Abstract: In evaluating interventions, policymakers should consider both their welfare effects, including their effects on people’s emotional states, and their effects on distributive justice, including their effects on those at the bottom of the economic ladder. The arguments for investigating welfare effects, and effects on distributive justice, are meant as objections to efforts to evaluate behaviorally informed interventions solely in terms of (for example) revealed preferences and effects on participation rates. The arguments are also meant as a plea for investigation and specification of the effects of such interventions on experienced well-being. If interventions give people a sense of security and safety, that is a strong point in their favor; if they make people feel frightened and sad, that is a strong point against them. A central concern is that policymakers sometimes neglect the emotional impact, whether negative or positive, of behaviorally informed interventions. Personalized approaches can promote distributive goals and also target interventions to those who are most likely to be helped by them.