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The Invisible Hand and Modern Welfare Economics

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  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

This paper reviews and puts into perspective recent work reassessing the first and second Fundamental Theorems of Welfare Economics. It assesses the implications of the Greenwald-Stiglitz theorem establishing the (constrained) Pareto inefficiency of market economies with imperfect information and incomplete markets as well as recent work on endogenous technological change. The information theoretic limitations to the Second Fundamental Theorem are also discussed, including the inability to separate out issues of equity and efficiency. The final sections of the paper consider the consequences of these problems for economic organization, economic policy, and the role of ideology in the belief in the Invisible Hand.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3641.

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Date of creation: Mar 1991
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Publication status: published as Vines, David and Andrew A. Stevenson (eds.) Information, strategy and public policy. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1991.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3641

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  1. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "Nash Equilibrium and the Industrial Organization of Markets with Large Fixed Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1149-72, September.
  2. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz & Andrew Weiss, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macro-Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 1335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1973. "Do Walras' identity and continuity characterize the class of community excess demand functions?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 345-354, August.
  6. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  7. Hall, Robert E & Jorgenson, Dale W, 1969. "Tax Policy and Investment Behavior: Reply and Further Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 388-401, June.
  8. David E. M. Sappington & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Privatization, Information and Incentives," NBER Working Papers 2196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  10. Salop, Steven & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510, October.
  11. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  12. John Vickers & George Yarrow, 1988. "Privatization: An Economic Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262720116, December.
  13. Salop, Steven, 1976. "Information and Monopolistic Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 240-45, May.
  14. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  15. Newbery, David M, 1989. "The Theory of Food Price Stabilisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1065-82, December.
  16. Steve Salop, 1976. "Information and monopolistic competition," Special Studies Papers 74, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  18. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  19. Greenwald, Bruce C & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 229-64, May.
  20. Shavell, Steven, 1979. "On Moral Hazard and Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 541-62, November.
  21. Mantel, Rolf R., 1974. "On the characterization of aggregate excess demand," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 348-353, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Zaman, Md Monowaruz, 2010. "An Unbiased Pareto Improvement strategy for poverty alleviation," MPRA Paper 27800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Josef Zuckerstätter & Thomas Zotter, 2012. "Die Kultur der organisierten Verantwortungslosigkeit. Oder vom Unglück, Recht zu haben," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 38(2), pages 291-297.
  3. Zaman, Md Monowaruz, 2008. "Welfare dynamics based on a new concept of inefficient equilibrium," MPRA Paper 11303, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Bloise, Gaetano & Reichlin, Pietro, 2005. "Risk and intermediation in a dual financial market economy," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 257-279, September.
  5. Bazhanov, Andrei, 2013. "Inefficiency and Sustainability," MPRA Paper 51815, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Alkire, S. & Deneulin, S., 2000. "Individual Motivation, Its Nature, Determinants and Consequences for within Group Behaviour," Research Paper 184, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
  7. Winfield, Mark & Dolter, Brett, 2014. "Energy, economic and environmental discourses and their policy impact: The case of Ontario׳s Green Energy and Green Economy Act," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 423-435.
  8. López, Ramón & Schiff, Maurice, 2013. "Interactive dynamics between natural and man-made assets: The impact of external shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 1-15.

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