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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Economics as Applied Ethics

Value Judgements in Welfare Economics

ISBN 9780230278363
Publication Date January 2011
Formats Hardcover Ebook Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

The focus of this textbook is on the link between ethics and economic policy analysis. Basic philosophical concepts are systematically described, followed by conventional welfare economic theory and policy, and applications to some topical economic problems such as income distribution and sustainable development. 

  • Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles 2011

WILFRED BECKERMAN Honorary Visiting Professor of Economics, University College London, UK; and Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford.

Fact or Value? A Simple Example: Sustainable Development and the Discount Rate
Positive Propositions and Value Judgements
Fact and Value in Welfare Economics
From Individuals' Choices to their 'Welfare'
Pareto Optimality and the Social Welfare Function
From Individuals' Welfares to Social Welfare
Utilitarianism in Welfare Economics
Some Major Criticisms of Utilitarianism
GDP and Friends
Why Equality?
What Equality?
The Boundary of Society: The Boundary in Space
The Boundary of Society: The Boundary in Time
Discounting the Future
Valuing Life
Overview: Value Judgements in Welfare Economics


This book is witty and wise, and a delight to read. It will enlighten economists – both students and teachers – and will encourage non-economists skeptical of the subject's ability to contribute to human welfare to think again.' Wendy Carlin, Professor of Economics, University College London 'As more people are starting to realize, economics without ethics is dangerous, and ethics without economics is foolish. This very timely book explains why these two perspectives can and must be combined.' Mark D. White, Professor in Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy, College of Staten Island/CUNY & author of 'Kantian Ethics and Economics: Autonomy, Dignity, and Character''Wifred Beckerman's Economics as Applied Ethics: Value Judgements in Welfare Economics elucidates many of the important ethical questions that are almost always suppressed in both mainstream economics teaching texts and advanced scholarship. The book provides a productive blending of abstract theoretical discussion with applications that focus on contemporary policy debates. It should therefore appeal both to students who are excited by and seek deeper understanding of abstract ideas, and those who are impatient with abstract debate and want to see just how these ideas matter concretely in policy making.' George DeMartino, Professor and Co-director of the MA program in Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration, University of Denver
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