Economic theories of justice, welfare, social choice and norms

Semester 3 & 4

Antoinette Baujard, Samuel Ferey

The course focuses on the history of certain branches of the public economy after 1945. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between public economics, involvement with public action and ethical values. Starting with the history of welfare economics in its epistemological, theoretical and applied dimensions, we will show how new approaches have profoundly renewed normative economics.

Two blocks of research will then be studied in particular, the new economic theories of justice on the one hand and the economics of law and legal systems on the other. Particular emphasis will be placed on the interdisciplinary construction of the discourse of law and economics between legal theory, normative theory and positive economics.



  • Arrow, K. J. 1951. Social Choice and Individual Values. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
  • Aslanbeigui, N. et S. G. Medema 1998. Beyond the Dark Clouds, Pigou and Coase on Social Cost. History of Political Economy, 30, 4, pp. 601-625.
  • Backhouse, R. A History of Modern Economic Analysis. Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1985.
  • Baujard, A. Welfare economics. In Handbook of the History of Economic Analysis, G. Faccarello and H. D. Kurz, Eds., vol. 3. Ch. 41. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham (U.K.), 2016.
  • Cherrier, B. et J-B Fleury, Economists’ interest in collective decision after World War II, a History, Mimeo.
  • Chipman, J. S. et Moore, J. C. 1978. The new welfare economics, 1939-1974. International Economic Review 19, 3, pp. 547-584.
  • Cooter, R. et Rappoport, P. 1984. Were the ordinalists wrong about welfare economics. Journal of Economic Literature 22, 2, pp. 507-530. Reproduit in M. Blaug ed., A. C. Pigou, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, chap. 12, pp. 150-173, 1992.
  • Faccarello, G et R. Sturn Eds. Studies in the history of Public Economics. Routledge, London 2010.
  • Fleurbaey, M. 1996. Théories économiques de la justice. Economie et Statistiques Avancées. Economica.
  • Fleurbaey, M., and Mongin, P. The new of the death of welfare economics is greatly exagerated. Social Choice and Welfare 25 (2005), 381-418.
  • Hayek, F.A., 1995. Droit, Législation et Liberté (trad. fr. de Law, Legislation and Liberty, 3 vol., 1973, 1976, 1979), P.U.F., Paris.
  • Hennipman, P. et Mishan, E. J. 1995, Welfare economics, The Hennipman - Mishan debate. In Welfare Economics and the Theory of Economic Policy, D. walker, A. Heertje, et H. van den Doel, Eds. Edward Edgar Publishing Limited, Aldershot, ch. 3, pp. 87-123.
  • Hicks, J. R. Essays in World economics. Preface –and a Manifesto, Oxford, Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press (1959).
  • Hicks, J. R. The scope and the status of welfare economics. Oxford economic papers (1975), 307-326.
  • Hovenkamp, H. 1995. The Economic Analysis of Law in the United States, A Brief Historical Survey. Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 19, n°2, pp. 331-352.
  • Kaplow, L et S. Shavell, 2006. Fairness vs. Welfare, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
  • Kolm, S.-C. An historical introduction to normative economics. Social Choice and Welfare 17, 4 (august 1999), 707-738.
  • Kolm, S.-C. History of public economics, The historical french school. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 17, 4 (2010), 687-718.
  • Little, I. 1950. A critique of welfare economics, Oxford University Press.
  • Medema, S. G. et N. Mercuro 1997. Economics and the Law, From Posner to Post-Modernism. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
  • Mishan, E. J. 1981. Economic efficiency and social welfare. Selected essays on fundamental aspects of the economic theory of social welfare. G. Allen and Unwin, London.
  • Mongin, P. A concept of progress for normative economics, Economics and Philosophy, 22, 2006, p. 19-54.
  • Myint, H. Theories of welfare economics. Augustus M. Kelley, Bookseller, New York, 1965. Published for The London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Nishizawa, T., Dardi, M., and Caldari, K Eds. Aspects of the history of welfare economics. History of Economic Ideas, 1 (2014).
  • Pattanaik, P. K. 1994, Some non-welfaristic issues in welfare economics. In Welfare Economics, B. Dutta, Ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 197-248.
  • Posner, R.A. 1980. The Ethical and Political Basis of the Efficiency Norm in Common Law Adjudication. Hofstra Law Review, 8, 3, pp. 487-507.
  • Posner, R.A., 1979. Utilitarianism, Economics, and Legal Theory. Journal of Legal Studies, 8, 1, pp. 103-140.
  • Salles, M. ed. The history of social choice. Soc Choice Welfare (2005) 25(2)
  • Samuelson, P. A. 1947. Foundations of Economic Analysis. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
  • Sen, A. K. 1970. Collective Choice and Social Welfare. Holden-Day, Inc., San Fransicso.
  • Sen, A. K. 1979. Personal utilities and public judgements, Or what’s wrong with welfare economics ? The Economic Journal 89, 355, pp. 537-558.
  • Sen, A. K. 1985. Well-being, agency and freedom, The Dewey Lectures 1984. The Journal of Philosophy 72, 4, pp. 169-221.
  • Sunstein, C. (ed.), 2000. Behavioral Law and Economics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Suzumura, K. An interview with Paul Samuelson, welfare economics, old and new, and social choice theory. Social Choice and Welfare 25, 2-3 (2005), 327-356.

Other suggesting readings:

  • Douglas, E. Science, Policy, and the value-free ideal. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa., 2009.
  • Douglas, H. Border skirmishes between science and policy: Autonomy, responsibility, and values. In Science, Values, and Objectivity. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004, ch. 11, pp. 220-244.
  • Longino, H. E. How values can be good for science. In Science, Values, and Objectivity, P. Machamer and G. Wolters, Eds. Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 2004, ch. 7, pp. 127-142.
  • Mongin, Philippe. 2003. L’axiomatisation et les théories économiques. Revue Economique 54, 1, pp. 99-138.
  • Mongin, Philippe. Value judgments and value neutrality in economics. Economica 72 (2006), 257–286.
  • Mongin, Philippe. Robbins and the separation of economics and ethics. Cowles Foundation Working Papers, 2008.
  • Robbins, Lionel. 1932. An essay on the nature and significance of Economic Science, 3ème ed. Macmillan, London.