IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ante-litteram anti-welfarism: the case of Marshall and Pareto


  • Marco Dardi

    () (Università di Firenze - Dipartimento di Scienze per l’Economia e l’Impresa)


According to Amartya Sen, welfarism was the leading feature of Welfare Economics (WE) in both its ‘Old’ and ‘New’ version until Arrow’s impossibility theorem demonstrated the necessity of doing away with it if welfare theory is to serve as a guide in evaluating alternative policies. This neat story line can be questioned, however, if we consider the contributions of two pre-Arrovian masters like Pareto and Marshall. The paper argues that, although conventionally assigned to the opposite sides of the Old/New WE divide, they shared a similar critical attitude towards welfarism and an analogous awareness of the necessity of using non-utility information to deal with issues of social choice. If they refrained from drawing all the consequences of their critical stances, this can be attributed to philosophical preconceptions rather than theoretical limitations.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Dardi, 2014. "Ante-litteram anti-welfarism: the case of Marshall and Pareto," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 22(1), pages 69-84.
  • Handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:22:y:2014:1:4:p:69-84

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sargent, Thomas J. & Wallace, Neil, 1976. "Rational expectations and the theory of economic policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 169-183, April.
    2. Tony Lawson, 2009. "The current economic crisis: its nature and the course of academic economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 759-777, July.
    3. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1999. "Macroeconomics of Self-fulfilling Prophecies, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262062038, July.
    4. Meacci, Ferdinando & Caldari, Katia, 2007. "Errors in Time as Causes of Economic Fluctuations: An Introduction," MPRA Paper 11703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Kregel, J A, 1976. "Economic Methodology in the Face of Uncertainty: The Modelling Methods of Keynes and the Post-Keynesians," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 86(342), pages 209-225, June.
    6. Ferdinando Meacci, 2009. "Uncertainty And Expectations In Shackle'S Theory Of Capital And Interest," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 302-323, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:22:y:2014:1:4:p:69-84. 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: (Mario Aldo Cedrini). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.