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Coercion, Contract and the Limits of the Market

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  • Kaushik Basu

Abstract

A central proposition on which much of normative economics is founded asserts that if two or more adults voluntarily agree to an exchange or trade and this does not have a negative fall-out on others, then government should not stop this exchange. Yet, on a variety of matters (hazardous work, the right to give up trade union rights in order to work in an export-processing zone) we tend to justify government or international interventions banning seemingly voluntary exchanges. This lecture will explore the meaning of coercion and voluntariness and try to articulate general principles for describing certain markets as 'obnoxious'. The principles will be applied to different labor market problems, ranging from sexual harassment to hazardous work.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings with number 355.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:355

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Keywords: coercion; contracts;

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References

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  1. Sen, Amartya & Pattanaik, Prasanta K., 1969. "Necessary and sufficient conditions for rational choice under majority decision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 178-202, August.
  2. Neeman, Zvika, 1999. "The Freedom to Contract and the Free-Rider Problem," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 685-703, October.
  3. Akerlof, George A, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617, November.
  4. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1994. "Methodological Individualism and Social Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 1-9, May.
  6. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  7. Wulf Gaerther & Prasanta K. Pattanaik & Kotaro Suzumura, 1991. "Individual Rights Revisited," Discussion Paper Series a238, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    • Gaertner, Wulf & Pattanaik, Prasanta K & Suzumura, Kotaro, 1992. "Individual Rights Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(234), pages 161-77, May.
  8. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-57, Jan.-Feb..
  9. Ashwini Deshpande, 1999. "Loan Pushing and Triadic Relations," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(4), pages 914-926, April.
  10. Basu, Kaushik, 2000. "Prelude to Political Economy: A Study of the Social and Political Foundations of Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296713, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Barrett, Christopher B. & Bachke, Maren E. & Bellemare, Marc F. & Michelson, Hope C. & Narayanan, Sudha & Walker, Thomas F., 2010. "Smallholder Participation in Agricultural Value Chains: Comparative Evidence from Three Continents," MPRA Paper 27829, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Barrett, Christopher B. & Bachke, Maren E. & Bellemare, Marc F. & Michelson, Hope C. & Narayanan, Sudha & Walker, Thomas F., 2012. "Smallholder Participation in Contract Farming: Comparative Evidence from Five Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 715-730.
  3. Kaushik Basu, 2007. "Identity and altruism: The Moral basis of prosperity and oppression," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 08-08, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  4. Arvanitidis Paschalis A. & Kyriazis Nicholas C., 2013. "Democracy and Public Choice in Classical Athens," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 213-248, August.
  5. Raul Caruso, 2009. "Relational Good at Work! Crime and Sport Participation in Italy. Evidence from Panel Data Regional Analysis over the Period 1997-2003," NCER Working Paper Series 47, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  6. Raul Caruso, 2008. "Reciprocity in the shadow of threat," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 91-111, April.

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