Séminaire GREDEG - Antoinette BAUJARD (Université Jean Monet et GATE Lyon)

Revisiting the history of welfare economics
Quand ? Le 14-01-2021,
de 15:00 à 17:00
Où ? By videoconference (Terms under abstract)
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Antoinette Baujard - Université de Lyon et Université Jean Monnet à Saint-Étienne -

Title: "Revisiting the history of welfare economics".

co-authored with Roger E. Backhouser and Tamotsu Nishizawa


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.


This seminar will be online only (Zoom).

Please contact or to get the link.