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Marshall on welfare, or: the 'utilitarian' meets the 'evolver'

  • Marco Dardi
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    Consumer surplus and the notion of the social optimality of competitive equilibria are usually indicated as Marshall's main contributions to welfare economics. His willingness to develop the policy implications of these concepts, however, was half-hearted to say the least. This paper argues that such an attitude is better understood if Marshall's approach to welfare economics is set in the framework of a wider intellectual programme that, passing through various stages, lies behind his entire work. The core of the programme consisted of an attempt to reconcile a utilitarian agenda with an evolutionary view of the dynamic tendencies of industrial society.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 405-437

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:17:y:2010:i:3:p:405-437
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