Ethics and Economics class schedule and readings

Notes
-This schedule and the readings may be updated during the course.
-Where readings are not available online, photocopies will be made available.
You are recommended to buy Debra Satz (2010) Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale. On the Limits of Markets, Oxford University Press.
-You are expected to write a page of critical remarks for each week's readings. See here for details.

Class 1 September 6th - Introduction

No preparatory reading
Introductory lecture and course administration

Additional resources

Part I: Ethics and Economic Theory

Class 2 September 13th - Why economics needs ethics

John Broome, “Why economics needs ethical theory,” in Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honour of Amartya Sen, ed. Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur, vol. 1 (Oxford University Press, 2009), 7–14. Online version (almost identical).

Daniel M. Hausman and Michael S. McPherson (1993), “Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy,” Journal of Economic Literature 31, no. 2: 671-731. JSTOR

Lawrence Summers. 1991. Memo on Dirty Industries. Online version

Additional resources

Class 3 September 20th - History of economic ethics

Debra Satz (2010) chapter 2 from Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: On the Limits of Markets, Oxford University Press. No online version. A photocopy has been placed in the EIPE postbox of the faculty office (H5-25)

J. E Alvey (1999) “A short history of economics as a moral science,” The Journal of Markets & Morality 2, no. 1 . Online version.

Class 4 September 27th -Facts and Values

Partha Dasgupta (2009) “Facts and Values in Modern Economics,” in The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics, ed. Harold Kincaid and Don Ross. Oxford University Press, pp 580-640. Online version

Amartya Sen (1980) “Description as choice,” Oxford Economic Papers 32, no. 3, New Series : 353-369. JSTOR

Additional resources

Class 5 October 4th - Economics for Ethics

John Broome, 1999, Introduction pp 1-14 in Ethics out of economics. Cambridge University Press. Online version. (Some people reported difficulty printing this - I have put a hardcopy in the EIPE postbox in H5-25 to make your own copy from)

Gary Becker, 1992, “Nobel lecture: The economic way of looking at life,” Online version

Kaushik Basu and Pham Hoang Van, “The economics of child labor”, in The American Economic Review  Vol. 88, No. 3 (Jun., 1998), pp. 412-427.  Online version.

Additional Resources


Class 6 October 11th - Rational agency

Daniel M. Hausman and Michael S. McPherson, Chapter 5  Economic analysis, moral philosophy, and public policy (Cambridge University Press, 2006). (Chapter 4 optional background reading). No online version. Photocopy will be  placed in the EIPE postbox of the faculty office (H5-25)

Amartya Sen, “Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioral Foundations of Economic Theory,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 6, no. 4 (1977): 317-344. Link.

Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein, (2003) “Libertarian Paternalism,” American Economic Review 93, no. 2: 175-179. Link.

Additional Resources


Class 7 October 18th - Cost Benefit Analysis


Sen, Amartya (2000) ‘The discipline of cost-benefit analysis’, Journal of Legal Studies, XXIX, pp. 931-952. Link

Richardson, Henry (2000) ‘The stupidity of cost-benefit analysis’, Journal of Legal Studies, XXIX, pp. 971-1003. Link

Additional Resources

Notes 18 October: Essay titles released. Essay requirements explained. OPTIONAL writing workshop 16.30-18.00


Class 8 October 25th - Evaluating prosperity and progress


Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi (2009) pp. 21-82 in Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, September 14. Online version

Additional Resources


Part II: Ethics and Economic Life

Class 9  November 1st - Property I: Foundations

Robert Nozick, Anarchy, state, and utopia (Basic Books, 1974). pp 149-182. No online version. Photocopy will be made available.

John Christman (1991) “Self-Ownership, Equality, and the Structure of Property Rights,” Political Theory 19, no. 1: 28-46. Link



Class 10 November 8th - Property II: Intellectual Property

Introduction from Axel Gosseries, Alain Strowel, and Alain Marciano, Intellectual Property and Theories of Justice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). (Required background reading, but excluded from critical remarks). No online version. Photocopy available.

Richard A. Posner, “Intellectual property: The law and economics approach,” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 19, no. 2 (2005): 57–73. Link.

Thomas Pogge (2010) “The Health Impact Fund: Better Pharmaceutical Innovations at Much Lower Prices” in  Thomas Pogge, Matthew Rimmer, and Kim Rubenstein (eds.) Incentives for global public health: patent law and access to medicines. Cambridge University Press. Online version.


ESSAY 1 DEADLINE: 13.00 MONDAY NOVEMBER 14TH


Class 11 November 15th - The limits of the market I: Theory

[Optional background reading: Debra Satz chapter 3]

Debra Satz (2010) ‘Noxious markets’, chapter 4 from Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale. On the Limits of Markets, Oxford University Press. No online version. Photocopy available.

Rutger J.G. Claassen, (2009) “Institutional pluralism and the limits of the market,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 8, no. 4: 420 -447. Link

Additional resources


Class 12 November 22nd - The limits of the market II: Application - Markets for kidneys?

Satz, Debra (2010) ‘Ethical Issues in the Supply and Demand of Human Kidneys’, chapter 9 from Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale. On the Limits of Markets, Oxford University Press. No online version.

Benjamin Hippen, “In Defense of a Regulated Market in Kidneys from Living Vendors,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30, no. 6 (December 2005): 593-626. Link

Additional resources


Class 13 November 29th - The political and the market

Heath, Joseph (2008) ‘The benefits of cooperation’, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 34(4), pp. 313-351. Link

Robert Frank, “Charles Darwin, Economist,” The American Interest Magazine, 2011. Link.

S. Bowles and H. Gintis, “Power and wealth in a competitive capitalist economy,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 21, no. 4 (1992): 324–353. Link.

Additional resources


Class 14 December 6th - Competition

Joseph Heath (2007) “An Adversarial Ethic for Business: Or When Sun-Tzu Met the Stakeholder,” Journal of Business Ethics 72, no. 4: 359-374. Link

Thomas Wells and J.J. Graafland (Forthcoming) “Adam Smith’s bourgeois virtues in competition,” Business Ethics Quarterly. Online version.



Class 15 December 13th - Doux Commerce

Albert O. Hirschman (1982) “Rival Interpretations of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive, or Feeble?,” Journal of Economic Literature 20, no. 4: 1463-1484. Link.

Samuel Bowles (2011) “Is Liberal Society a Parasite on Tradition?,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 39, no. 1: 46-81. Link.


ESSAY 2 DEADLINE:  JANUARY 8TH