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Public policy and the quality of life: How relevant is economics? Public policy and the quality of life: Market incentives versus government planning Randall G. Holcombe greenwood press, 1995, 190 pp

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  • Patrick Welle

Abstract

This article summarizes and critiques Holcombe's arguments on the influence of private ownership and markets on the quality of life. Holcombe summarizes the free market-oriented literature and provides interesting anecdotes in arguing that markets are superior to public policies and more cost-effective in pursuing social goals such as health care, environmental protection, and housing. This critique argues that Holcombe's approach is much too narrow in that it reduces the quality of life to commercial value, cost minimization, and property rights. Economic analysis can become more relevant to the public discourse by recognizing that social values are broader than cost minimization and efficiency. Public sensibilities on equity, justice, equal opportunity, and human dignity shape the sociocultural context for evaluating the impact of public policy on the quality of life. Ideas are offered for enhancing the relevance of economics to policy discussions on the quality of life. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 1999

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Welle, 1999. "Public policy and the quality of life: How relevant is economics? Public policy and the quality of life: Market incentives versus government planning Randall G. Holcombe greenwood press, 1995, 190 pp," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 27(1), pages 91-113, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:27:y:1999:i:1:p:91-113
    DOI: 10.1007/BF02299181
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dahlman, Carl J, 1979. "The Problem of Externality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 141-162, April.
    2. Harberger, Arnold C, 1978. "On the Use of Distributional Weights in Social Cost-Benefit Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 87-120, April.
    3. Tideman, T Nicolaus & Tullock, Gordon, 1976. "A New and Superior Process for Making Social Choices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1145-1159, December.
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