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A Critique of Welfare Economics

I.M.D. Little, OUP, 2003, Reprint, xx, 302 p, figs, ISBN : 0195664647, $33.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Critique of Welfare Economics/I.M.D. Little

Contents: Introduction. 1. Utilitarian economics. 2. The analysis of consumers’ behaviour. 3. The choice criterion. 4. The distribution of welfare. 5. Value judgements and welfare economics. 6. The new welfare economics (i): welfare criteria. 7. The new welfare economics (ii): the economic welfare function. 8. The ‘optimum’ conditions of production and exchange (I). 9. The ‘optimum’ conditions of production and exchange (2). 10. Indivisibilities and consumers’ surplus. 11. Output and price policy in public enterprise. 12. The valuation of the national income. 13. Welfare theory and international trade. 14. Welfare theory and politics. 15. Conclusions. Appendices: 1. The logic of strong ordering/C.B. Winsten. 2. The construction of a behaviour-line system from actual choices. 3. Kinked behaviour lines and boundary optima. 4. Direct versus indirect taxes. Index of authors.

"A Critique of Welfare Economics, first published in 1950, was concerned with the exposition, criticism, and appreciation of the theory of economic welfare as it had been developed at that time. Little’s aim was to clarify what was meant by ‘welfare’; to distinguish measurable, verifiable elements of the theory from subjective normative judgements about policies for improving economic well-being; and to establish criteria for determining whether one configuration of the economic system is better or worse than another. Little showed that welfare theory could be based directly on individual market choices, and that resort to traditional utilitarian concepts was not essential.

In this classic reissue, the author has added a new retrospective preface assessing the contribution the book made, in the light of subsequent literature in the area.

This work will benefit students of economics, teachers, and researchers." (jacket)

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