IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Market Reasoning as Moral Reasoning: Why Economists Should Re-engage with Political Philosophy

Listed author(s):
  • Michael J. Sandel
Registered author(s):

    In my book What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (2012), I try to show that market values and market reasoning increasingly reach into spheres of life previously governed by nonmarket norms. I argue that this tendency is troubling; putting a price on every human activity erodes certain moral and civic goods worth caring about. We therefore need a public debate about where markets serve the public good and where they don't belong. In this article, I would like to develop a related theme: When it comes to deciding whether this or that good should be allocated by the market or by nonmarket principles, economics is a poor guide. Deciding which social practices should be governed by market mechanisms requires a form of economic reasoning that is bound up with moral reasoning. But mainstream economic thinking currently asserts its independence from the contested terrain of moral and political philosophy. If economics is to help us decide where markets serve the public good and where they don't belong, it should relinquish the claim to be a value-neutral science and reconnect with its origins in moral and political philosophy.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.4.121
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/ds/2704/2704-0121_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 121-140

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:27:y:2013:i:4:p:121-40
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.4.121
    Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. David de la Croix & Axel Gosseries, 2007. "Procreation, Migration and Tradable Quotas," Chapters,in: Population Aging, Intergenerational Transfers and the Macroeconomy, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Timothy Besley, 2013. "What's the Good of the Market? An Essay on Michael Sandel's What Money Can't Buy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 478-495, June.
    3. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1996. "The Old Lady Visits Your Backyard: A Tale of Morals and Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1297-1313, December.
    4. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-755, September.
    5. Howard Kunreuther & Doug Easterling, 1996. "The role of compensation in siting hazardous facilities," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 601-622.
    6. Janssen, Maarten C. W. & Mendys-Kamphorst, Ewa, 2004. "The price of a price: on the crowding out and in of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 377-395, November.
    7. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:27:y:2013:i:4:p:121-40. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

    or (Michael P. Albert)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.