Economic incentives are frequently employed as a means to implement public policy. For example, public authorities offer tax credits to encourage businesses to create jobs or to encourage individuals to use public transportation services, and many municipalities offer tax breaks to first-time home buyers.
In this text, Xavier Landes examines some ethical issues raised by the use of financial incentives to promote healthy eating habits.
Let us know what you think
The essays developed for our ethics project present summary discussions of some contemporary ethical issues as they relate to various aspects of public policy and their impact on health. The goal is to encourage reflection on these issues among public health actors.
Thus, in order to extend debate, the following questions may be asked with respect to this text:
- Based on a reading of the paper, do you find this discussion convincing and appropriate?
- Does it allow the reader to weigh the ethical advantages and disadvantages of potential public policy actions?
It should be noted that the author's mandate was not to present an exhaustive analysis. Thus, while he looks closely at ethical issues related to social justice and utilitarianism, he does not consider other issues such as social labelling and discrimination in depth. Nor does the author consider the ethical issues related to moralizing over lifestyles in contemporary societies.
- Do you think that these latter avenues of ethical reflection should be explored? If so, in what way?