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DENNIS ROBERTSON ON UTILITY AND WELFARE IN THE 1950s

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  • Mauro Boianovsky

Abstract

The paper investigates Dennis Robertson's effort to defend the Cambridge utilitarian tradition against the so-called "new welfare economics" in the 1950s. Robertson's sustained and isolated endeavor to rescue Marshallian cardinal utility attracted the attention of economists at the time. According to Robertson, welfare economics should be based on cardinal utility, and the ordinalist revolution in the consumer and welfare theories should be rejected. It was only by sticking to the study of the economic or material aspects of welfare under the assumption of measurable utility that the economist would regain its ability to approach economic welfare as an objective of economic policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Mauro Boianovsky, 2005. "DENNIS ROBERTSON ON UTILITY AND WELFARE IN THE 1950s," Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 010, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  • Handle: RePEc:anp:en2005:010
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    File URL: http://www.anpec.org.br/encontro2005/artigos/A05A010.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. W. E. Armstrong, 1955. "Concerning Marginal Utility," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 0(2), pages 170-176.
    2. Mandler, Michael, 2001. "Dilemmas in Economic Theory: Persisting Foundational Problems of Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195145755, June.
    3. Shira B. Lewin, 1996. "Economics and Psychology: Lessons for Our Own Day from the Early Twentieth Century," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1293-1323, September.
    4. Paul A. Samuelson, 1963. "D. H. Robertson (1890–1963)," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 517-536.
    5. Cooter, Robert & Rappoport, Peter, 1984. "Were the Ordinalists Wrong about Welfare Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 507-530, June.
    6. J. R. Hicks, 1941. "The Rehabilitation of Consumers' Surplus," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 108-116.
    7. Hicks, J. R., 1986. "A Revision of Demand Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198285502.
    8. Samuelson, Paul A, 1974. "Complementarity-An Essay on the 40th Anniversary of the Hicks-Allen Revolution in Demand Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1255-1289, December.
    9. O. Lange, 1934. "The Determinateness of the Utility Function," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(3), pages 218-225.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals

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