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An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods: The Unfinished Ethical Revolution in Economic Theory download ebook

by Wilfried Ver Eecke

An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods: The Unfinished Ethical Revolution in Economic Theory download ebook
ISBN:
1557534284
ISBN13:
978-1557534286
Author:
Wilfried Ver Eecke
Publisher:
Purdue University Press (December 1, 2006)
Language:
Pages:
800 pages
ePUB:
1819 kb
Fb2:
1393 kb
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Category:
Anthropology
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Rating:
4.6

Because merit goods place ethics within economic theory, it is a subject that should interest people from inside and . West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2007. This is a very useful and important volume.

Because merit goods place ethics within economic theory, it is a subject that should interest people from inside and outside the discipline. Clearly the concept of merit good has ramifications for the acceptable boundaries of government action and intervention, of great interest to political scientists and philosophers as well as private citizens.

Even fascist writers did not find much merit in these works, and definitely condemned his economic theories.

Even fascist writers did not find much merit in these works, and definitely condemned his economic theories remained a radical libertarian till the end, and continued to express serious reservations about fascism, and to voice opposition to its basic policies.

Start by marking An An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods: The . The subsequent sections expand the definition of merit goods and provide information on the application of merit goods theory in economic, philosophical, social, and religious terms.

Start by marking An An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods: The Unfinished Ethical Revolution in Economic Theory as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Home Books Titles An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods: The .

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Are you sure you want to remove An anthology regarding merit goods from your list? . the unfinished ethical revolution in economic theory. by Wilfried Ver Eecke.

Are you sure you want to remove An anthology regarding merit goods from your list? An anthology regarding merit goods. Published 2007 by Purdue University Press in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Unfinished Ethical Revolution in Economic Theory. Published December 1, 2006 by Purdue University Press.

Goods : The Unfinished Ethical Revolution in Economic Theory.

An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods : The Unfinished Ethical Revolution in Economic Theory. The work begins with a thorough look at Musgrave's notion of merit goods.

The unfinished ethical revolution in economic thought. Purdue University Press, West LafayetteGoogle Scholar.

Purdue University Press, West Lafayette 2007. ref sr 1 3?s books&ie UTF8&qid 1343652299&sr 1-3&keywords Ver+Eecke. The unfinished ethical revolution in economic thought.

Ver Eecke W (2007) An anthology regarding merit goods. Ver Eecke W (2008) Ethical dimensions of the economy

Ver Eecke W (2007) An anthology regarding merit goods. Ver Eecke W (2008) Ethical dimensions of the economy. Making use of hegel and the concepts of public and merit goods. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar. Wildavsky A (1987) Opportunity costs and merit wants. In: Speaking truth to power: the art and craft of policy analysis, chapter 7. Transaction Publishers; Previously, Little, Brown and Company, SomersetGoogle Scholar.

An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods The Unfinished Ethical Revolution in Economic Theory. Author: Wilfried Van Eecke Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/03/2007. Merit Goods are those goods and services that the government feels that people will under-consume and which therefore ought to be subsidized or provided free at the point of use. The consumption of merit goods is thought to generate positive externality effects where the social benefit from consumption exceeds the private benefit

Van Eecke has assembled a collection of articles and papers that covers the issue of merit goods from a variety of perspectives, providing a single source for researchers and economist interested in the issue. The work begins with a thorough look at Musgrave's notion of merit goods. The subsequent sections expand the definition of merit goods and provide information on the application of merit goods theory in economic, philosophical, social, and religious terms.
Reviews:
  • Soustil
Although the concept of merit goods has been around for almost 60 years, this is the first book of its kind to present a complete discussion on the topic. After 714 pages of analysis and examples concerning these goods, it is hard to believe that this concept is not firmly established in the economic vernacular. The breadth and depth of review in An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods could change that.

Richard Musgrave, the Harvard economist renowned for his work in public goods theory, first put a name to merit goods in 1956 when he pointed out that certain goods--such as free school lunches and mandatory inoculation--did not have pure public or private good characteristics. He called such goods "merit wants" and defined them as "so important that when the government is dissatisfied with the level of its consumption in the free market, it intervenes to adjust such levels, even against the wishes of consumers." The first third of the anthology provides all Musgrave's writings on merit goods, almost half a century's worth, giving the reader a very clear understanding, along with the help of the editor's comments, of how the concept emerged and the definition progressed during Musgrave's lifetime.

The next two sections of the anthology are selections from secondary literature (including articles that reject the concept, further define the concept, justify the concept, provide a domain for the concept and its mathematical models), and the application of the merit good concept by economists and non-economists. Some of these authors specifically reject that they are discussing merit goods and Ver Eecke does a good job of framing each article to point out the merit good aspect in it.

Modern day examples found in the anthology of merit goods include policy recommendations that require farmers in famine-plagued nations to grow edible instead of commercial crops (Sen) and ways to adapt laws in order to diminish the unfair economic consequences of divorce (Glendon). What the editor stresses is that these situations clearly override consumer preference and do so without compensation (as one would be required under public goods theory, for example in the case of eminent domain) or regret. Similar examples in the news recently include smoking and trans fat bans since individuals who enjoy these activities will not be compensated for their loss.

Underlying the whole book is that the concept of merit goods is difficult for economic theory to absorb because it means that there are values in addition to individual preference, and that such values may actually supersede consumer choice. The concept of merit goods, therefore, locates the idea of ethics in economic and business activity at the heart of economic theory. This is obviously quiet problematic for a discipline that has self-interest and consumer sovereignty at its core. This discomfort with anything but self-interest as valuable is evident in many of the articles when the author attempts to encompass merit goods within public good theory (Brennan) or argue that these goods do not actually interfere with consumer preference (Head).

Because merit goods place ethics within economic theory, it is a subject that should interest people from inside and outside the discipline. Clearly the concept of merit good has ramifications for the acceptable boundaries of government action and intervention, of great interest to political scientists and philosophers as well as private citizens. Likewise, since merit goods justify economic activity on other grounds besides self-interest, they offer a new technical tool for those interested in introducing alternative values into the economic decision-making process, of interest to anyone from theologians to environmentalists.

The anthology takes the first, and impressive, step of explaining the concept, outlining the debate thus far surrounding it and providing examples of where the concept exists. It does not argue for the boundaries or limitations to merit goods and that seems to be the next step in a discussion on the topic.

The anthology is very well organized and the relatively short articles by both economists and non-economists make this book an accessible reference. However, the editor's abundant and cogent analysis push understanding so that the reader can dig as deep into the topic as they choose. This is a great introductory work as well as a new addition for someone familiar with the topic.
  • Snake Rocking
Since John Head has been facing access problems I am posting his review under my name.

Review of: Wilfried Ver Eecke, An Anthology Regarding Merit Goods. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2007.

This is a very useful and important volume. Even for the specialist scholar, Ver Eecke's anthology of merit goods papers is a godsend, bringing together as it does an extensive literature which is widely dispersed, much of it in remote and inaccessible locations or languages. For the generalist, the anthology offers the reader the opportunity to sample a comprehensive literature on an interesting and important topic in public expenditure analysis.

In Musgrave's monumental treatise The Theory of Public Finance (1959), the theory of public expenditure is grounded in the seminal concepts of social wants and merit wants. In the case of social wants, markets fail completely to satisfy individual preferences; since nothing can be charged, nothing will be provided. In the case of merit wants or merit goods, it is individual preferences that are presumptively at fault; and the concept of consumer sovereignty is rejected or at least radically modified.

The merit goods concept has understandably proved enigmatic and highly controversial. Some critics have argued that the concept is irretrievably elitist and authoritarian in character, and can have no place in a normative theory based on the premise of individual choice in a democratic society. Others, by contrast, have argued that the merit goods concept can be reconciled with the consumer sovereignty principle broadly interpreted. If these arguments are correct, the concept is accordingly either redundant or totally incompatible with democratic principles. Either way it must therefore be rejected.

Supporters of the merit goods concept would counter with the argument that it is of great value in epitomising a range of public expenditure functions which might otherwise escape notice between the extremes of individualism and authoritarianism. Examples might include subsidised low-cost housing, free or subsidised health care and education, anti-discrimination measures, intergenerational redistribution of income, categorical equity, and measures to correct for intertemporal myopia and associated distortions.

Ver Eecke's anthology brings together eleven of Musgrave's fundamental but varied contributions and reconsiderations of the merit goods concept. The extensive secondary literature is also comprehensively represented, including seminal papers by Head, McLure and Brennan/Lomasky. Apart from the important sections devoted to this specialist literature, other sections cover significant contributions on related topics by leading economists and also contributions by eminent authors from a wider literature.

It must be admitted that the contributions to this extensive literature are of rather uneven quality, with a certain amount of confusion and contradiction between the various papers and extracts. The resulting problems for the general reader are, however, considerably reduced, though far from eliminated, by the introductory summaries provided by the editor. Ver Eecke also provides a useful overview of the differing perspectives and conflicting positions of the various authors in his general introduction to the volume. He does not, however, attempt in any detail to resolve or arbitrate the very considerable differences at issue.

From his introduction to the volume, it is clear that Ver Eecke regards the merit goods concept as having much wider application than Musgrave himself has ever suggested. He argues this very persuasively on a case-by-case basis in summarising the contributions from a wider literature in Part III of the volume. With this view, I would emphatically concur.

Ver Eecke's contribution also serves to illustrate an important general point that philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, psychologists and others specialising in such areas as public choice, social choice and welfare theory may have much to contribute in the further development of merit goods analysis. The limitations of conventionally trained economists in this regard are painfully illustrated by some of the selections from the specialist literature reprinted in Part II of the volume. Those approaching this topic from a wider interdisciplinary literature are, however, equally prone to misconceptions in such a problematic subject area.

Taking this 714-page volume as a whole, it must be said that the coverage of the central subject matter is admirably comprehensive and is indeed unmatched anywhere in the literature. Serviceable translations are provided of papers which originally appeared in German. There are also brief, generally accurate and helpful introductions by the editor to each of the papers and extracts included in the volume.

In a balanced review some relatively minor criticisms should perhaps be registered. These would include: a few significant omissions and some unnecessary repetition (e.g. of Brennan/Lomasky) in the selections from the specialist literature; problems in the sectional classification of some papers; one rather poor translation from the German; and an excessive number of misprints. These are, however, minor irritations when set alongside the very substantial merits of the volume.

For the general reader and the specialist alike, Ver Eecke's anthology offers a comprehensive review of what in his subtitle the editor tantalisingly describes as "the unfinished ethical revolution in economic theory". The book could well provide a useful springboard for further research in this area, and it should make a major contribution in promoting a wider understanding and appreciation of the important economic and ethical issues raised by Musgrave's merit wants concept.

For those wanting a more detailed account of the volume, the excellent review by Henningsen is strongly recommended.

John Head,
Emeritus Professor,
Monash University.
  • Nargas
Ver Eecke's anthology provides an invaluable resource for the study of ethics in economics. This in-depth study of Musgrave's notion of "merit goods," in a variety of contexts, provides an important forum for teasing out how merit good concepts can be used to construct arguments for positive and constructive intervention in the free market for the public good.