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Value judgments and economics expertise

  • Antoinette Baujard

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure - Lyon)

This paper tackles the problem of the demarcation of value judgments in economic expertise. Is it possible to disentangle values from facts, or neutral scientific assertions from value-laden judgments, in the context of economic expertise ? If not, why not ? And if it is, under what conditions ? First, drawing on concepts from analytic philosophy, the paper highlights the interdependencies between descriptive, evaluative, and prescriptive judgments. Second, drawing notably on social studies of science, the paper proposes a definition of 'expertise', and translates this into a list of successive stages wherein these different types of judgments are involved. A backward analysis of these stages is provided in order to identify where values stand, and who holds them. Third, reconsidering the positions of neutrality in economics (Mongin 2006), the paper defends the 'weak non-neutrality' view in the context of expertise, and concludes with reflections on what could be done to address the problem of democratic legitimacy raised by the difficulty of demarcation.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00803552.

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Date of creation: 22 Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00803552
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  1. Gajdos, Thibault & Weymark, John A., 2012. "Introduction to inequality and risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1313-1330.
  2. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  3. John B. Davis, 2005. "Robbins, Textbooks, and the Extreme Value Neutrality View," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 191-196, Summer.
  4. Antoinette Baujard, 2006. "Conceptions of freedom and ranking opportunity sets. A typology," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 200611, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  5. Sen, Amartya K, 1980. "Description as Choice," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(3), pages 353-69, November.
  6. Antoinette Baujard, 2010. "Collective interest versus individual interest in Bentham's felicific calculus. Questioning welfarism and fairness," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 607-634.
  7. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1972. "Value Judgments and Economists' Role in Policy Recommendation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 1014-18, September.
  8. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. II," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 82-111, August.
  9. Antoinette Baujard, 2011. "L'économie du bien-être est morte. Vive l' économie du bien-être !," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201102, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  10. Antoinette Baujard, 2007. "Conceptions of freedom and ranking opportunity sets. A typology," Post-Print halshs-00294466, HAL.
  11. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. I," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 416-442, June.
  12. Mongin, Philippe, 2005. "Value judgments and value neutrality in economics," MPRA Paper 37751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Márcia Balisciano & Steven G. Medema, 1999. "Positive Science, Normative Man: Lionel Robbins and the Political Economy of Art," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 31(5), pages 256-284, Supplemen.
  14. Boulding, Kenneth E, 1969. "Economics as a Moral Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 1-12, March.
  15. David Andrews, 2010. "The Background to Hawtrey's Ethics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 297-322, Summer.
  16. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2007. "Collusion and the organization of delegated expertise," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 271-299, November.
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