Merit goods in a utilitarian framework
Merit goods are defined here as goods for which government interference with the aggregated willingness to pay increases utility. The paper argues that three cases exist where consideration for merit goods would lead to a Pareto improvement and where merit goods should therefore be reintegrated into the public economics framework. The state may be better informed about the conditions for the possibility of certain consumer wants. In cases of multiple preference orders within one person, the state may need to play a role if market preferences and reflective preferences are to converge. And the state may be needed to internalize psychological externalities. The inclusion of the merit goods concept may explain how some policies, like schooling policy, may increase overall well-being, whereas the classical public economics framework is unable to do so.
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Volume (Year): 18 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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References listed on IDEAS
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1996063, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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- Coady, David P. & Parker, Susan W., 2002. "A cost-effectiveness analysis of demand- and supply-side education interventions," FCND discussion papers 127, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "Testing Theories of Happiness," IEW - Working Papers 147, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Brennan, Timothy J., 1989. "A Methodological Assessment of Multiple Utility Frameworks," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 189-208, October.
- Kavka, Gregory S., 1991. "Is Individual Choice Less Problematic than Collective Choice?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 143-165, October.
- Randall G. Holcombe & Russell S. Sobel, 2000. "Consumption Externalities and Economic Welfare," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 157-170, Spring.
- Mann, Stefan, 2003. "Why organic food in Germany is a merit good," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5-6), pages 459-469.
- Hicks, J. R., 1986. "A Revision of Demand Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198285502.
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