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Economists, social reformers, and prophets: a feminist critique of economic efficiency

  • Drucilla Barker
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    This article examines the concept of Pareto optimality, bringing to light some of its implicit assumptions about the nature of human agency, work, and gender. It explores the androcentric character of the economic agent and the gendered nature of neoclassical models in relation to the historical development of the concept of economic efficiency during the late 1930s. The thrust toward the development of Pareto optimality as a scientific criterion of economic welfare was a response to the methodological tensions between the clearly political nature of economics and the scientific aspirations of economists. An examination of the debates from this period illuminates some of the values that became embedded in neoclassical economics, and which are now hidden by the masks of mathematics and abstraction.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/714042247
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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 1 (1995)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 26-39

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:1:y:1995:i:3:p:26-39
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