EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Revisiting the history of welfare economics

Roger Backhouse, Antoinette Baujard () and Tamotsu Nishizawa
Additional contact information
Tamotsu Nishizawa: Teikyo University

Discussion Papers from Department of Economics, University of Birmingham

Abstract: Our forthcoming book, Welfare Theory, Public Action and Ethical Values challenges the belief that, until modern welfare economics introduced issues such as justice, freedom and equality, economists adopted what Amartya Sen called ''welfarism.'' This is the belief that the welfare of society depends solely on the ordinal utilities of the individuals making up the society. Containing chapters on some of the leading twentieth-century economists, including Walras, Marshall, Pigou, Pareto, Samuelson, Musgrave, Hicks, Arrow, Coase and Sen, as well as lesser-known figures, including Ruskin, Hobson and contributors to the literature on capabilities, the book argues that, whatever their theoretical commitments, when economists have considered practical problems they have adopted a wider range of ethical values, attaching weight to equality, justice and freedom. Part 1 explains the concepts of welfarism and non-welfarism and explores ways in which economists have departed from welfarism when tackling practical problems and public policy. Part 2 explores the reasons for this. When moving away from abstract theories to consider practical problems it is often hard not to take an ethical position and economists have often been willing to do so. We conclude that economics needs to recognise this and to become more of a moral science.

Keywords: Welfarism; non-welfarism; welfare; public policy; ethics; economics; individualism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B21 B31 B41 D63 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 22 pages
Date: 2020-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-hpe and nep-upt
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://repec.cal.bham.ac.uk/pdf/20-26.pdf

Related works:
Working Paper: Revisiting the history of welfare economics (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Revisiting the history of welfare economics (2020) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bir:birmec:20-26

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Discussion Papers from Department of Economics, University of Birmingham Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oleksandr Talavera ().

 
Page updated 2023-01-31
Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:20-26