Economic and Political Solutions to Social Problems: The Case of Secondhand Smoke in Enclosed Public Places

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Abstract

This article utilises a case study of the problem of second-hand smoke in
enclosed public places to examine economic and political solutions to social problems. The responses of economic actors to this problem are examined via review of a number of pre-existing case studies of private arrangements in bars and restaurants prior to the introduction of smoking bans. The responses of political actors are examined via a study of the legislative process that led to the ban on smoking in enclosed public places introduced in England in 2007. This empirical evidence supports the view that economic decision-making leads to a plurality of different accommodations of different preferences, suggestive of inter-subjective learning, whereas political decision-making leads to exclusive, all-or-nothing solutions indicative of an adversarial approach to decision-making and the imposition of one group’s preferences on the whole population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-248
Number of pages16
JournalReview of Political Economy
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2011

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