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Incorporating Ethics into Economics: Problems and Possibilities

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  • Donna Rowen

    ()

  • Michael Dietrich

    ()
    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

Abstract

In traditional economics the decision-making process for individuals has effectively no role for ethics as individuals are self-interested. The key concepts in economics which determine the role of ethics in the decision-making process are utility, rationality and methodological individualism and hence how these can be and are formulated and combined determines different roles for ethics in economics. Amitai Etzioni, Amartya Sen and John Broome use different definitions of these concepts and hence find different problems and possibilities for a greater role for ethics in economics. This paper integrates the different approaches of these authors and suggests a general mono-utility framework for incorporating ethics into economics whereby the concept of utility requires adaptation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2004006.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision: Jul 2004
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2004006

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Related research

Keywords: Ethics; Utility; Methodological individualism;

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References

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  1. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  2. Lanse P. Minkler & Thomas J. Miceli, 2002. "Lying, Integrity, and Cooperation," Working papers 2002-39, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Broome, John, 1991. "A Reply to Sen," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 285-287, October.
  4. Hausman, Daniel M & McPherson, Michael S, 1993. "Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 671-731, June.
  5. Brennan, Timothy J., 1989. "A Methodological Assessment of Multiple Utility Frameworks," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 189-208, October.
  6. Lynne, Gary D. & Casey, C. Franklin, 1998. "Regulation of technology adoption when individuals pursue multiple utility," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 701-719.
  7. Amartya Sen, 1996. "Maximization and the Act of Choice," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1766, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1981. "Altruism in the Family and Selfishness in the Market Place," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(189), pages 1-15, February.
  10. Brennan, Timothy J., 1993. "The Futility of Multiple Utility," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 155-164, April.
  11. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 2002. "Rationality, comparability and maximization," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 141-156, April.
  12. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1994. "Methodological Individualism and Social Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 1-9, May.
  13. Lutz, Mark A., 1993. "The Utility of Multiple Utility: A Comment on Brennan," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 145-154, April.
  14. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Utility: Ideas and Terminology," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 277-283, October.
  15. Etzioni, Amitai, 1986. "The Case for a Multiple-Utility Conception," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 159-184, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Saha, Malayendu, 2013. "The Ethical Dimensions Of Financial Crisis In The World Of Globalized Finance," MPRA Paper 45565, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 Apr 2013.
  2. Federico Marongiu, 2005. "Un análisis de las conductas económicas a la luz de la Ética," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0507001, EconWPA.

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