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ON VIRTUES AND AWARDS: GIACINTO DRAGONETTI AND THE TRADITION OF ECONOMIA CIVILE IN ENLIGHTENMENT ITALY

Luigino Bruni ()

Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2013, vol. 35, issue 4, 517-535

Abstract: The paper discusses the work of Giacinto Dragonetti, a disciple of the Neapolitan Antonio Genovesi, founder of the Economia Civile tradition. Dragonetti’s short book, A Treatise on Virtues and Rewards, appeared in Naples in 1766, shortly after Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments (1764). In the Treatise, Dragonetti advances a theory of action based on awards for virtues. The idea of awards relies on the hypothesis that good or virtuous citizens act for intrinsic reasons. Modern economics has followed the path of incentives (and “punishments†), not that of awards. The paper argues that Dragonetti’s contributions remain relevant not only for the history of economic thought, but for contemporary economic theory, as well.

Date: 2013
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