IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Making use of the past: theorists and historians on the economics of altruism

  • Philippe Fontaine

While deriving their explanation of positive utility interdependence from Edgeworth's presupposition that concern for others' welfare varies with the 'social distance' between individuals, economic theorists have overlooked both Smith's idea that sympathy can also develop on the basis of empathy and Wicksteed's idea that sympathy and altruism operate on different levels of analysis. In retrieving past ideas that have not been followed up in the modern theories of altruism, historians of economics should be able not only to shed some light on the main stages in its development but also to show that its achievements cannot be assessed independently of its limits.

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:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 7 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 407-422

in new window

Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:7:y:2000:i:3:p:407-422
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

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. Chami, Ralph, 1996. "King Lear's dilemma: Precommitment versus the last word," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 171-176, August.
  2. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S151-82, July.
  3. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
  4. Bergstrom, T.C. & Stark, O., 1993. "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," Papers 93-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  5. Jack Hirshleifer, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," UCLA Economics Working Papers 087, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
  7. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1977. "Altruism in Law and Economics," NBER Working Papers 0217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bernheim, B Douglas & Stark, Oded, 1988. "Altruism within the Family Reconsidered: Do Nice Guys Finish Last?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1034-45, December.
  9. Sugden, Robert, 1985. "Consistent conjectures and voluntary contributions to public goods: why the conventional theory does not work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 117-124, June.
  10. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  11. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  12. Collard, David, 1975. "Edgeworth's Propositions on Altruism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 85(338), pages 355-60, June.
  13. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  14. Fontaine, Philippe, 1997. "Identification and Economic Behavior Sympathy and Empathy in Historical Perspective," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 261-280, October.
  15. Hochman, Harold M & Rodgers, James D, 1969. "Pareto Optimal Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 542-57, Part I Se.
  16. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-82, December.
  17. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1986. "On the Voluntary and Involuntary Provision of Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 789-93, September.
  18. Tullock, Gordon, 1977. "Economics and Sociobiology: A Comment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 502-06, June.
  19. Stark, Oded & Falk, Ita, 1998. "Transfers, Empathy Formation, and Reverse Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 271-76, May.
  20. R. D. Hood & S. A. Martin & Lars S. Osberg, 1977. "Economic Determinants of Individual Charitable Donations in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 10(4), pages 653-69, November.
  21. Cornes, Richard & Sandler, Todd, 1984. "The theory of public goods: non-nash behaviour," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 367-379, April.
  22. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  23. Sugden, Robert, 1982. "On the Economics of Philanthropy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 341-50, June.
  24. Schall, Lawrence D, 1972. "Interdependent Utilities and Pareto Optimality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 19-24, February.
  25. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
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:taf:eujhet:v:7:y:2000:i:3:p:407-422. 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: (Michael McNulty)

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.