Philosophy of Economics
This information is for the 2012/13 session.
The course is primarily intended for students taking MSc Philosophy of the Social Sciences, MSc Philosophy and History of Science, MSc Economics and Philosophy, MSc Philosophy and Public Policy, MPA Public and Economic Policy/MPA Public Policy and Management/MPA International Development/MPA European Public and Economic Policy/MPA Public and Social Policy, MSc European Studies: Ideas and Identities, MSc Social Research Methods and LSE-Sciences Po Double Degree in European Studies. It is optional for MRes/PhD Economics and open to all MSc and research students .
Philosophical issues in economics.
Rational choice theory, game theory, and their difficulties. Neuroeconomics and behavioural economics. Social choice theory. 'Old' and 'new' welfare economics. Pareto optimality, interpersonal comparability, and theories of well-being. Firms as Economic Agents. Economies as Dynamic Systems. Efficiency and its critics. Optimal taxation and its critics. Fairness vs. equity. Public goods vs. merit goods. Philosophy of law and economics. Fair prices. Paternalism. GDP vs. happiness vs. capabilities. Ethics of the discount rate.
Lectures PH211 x 20 (MT, LT - the lectures are shared with undergraduates taking PH211); Seminars PH413 20 x one-and-a-half hours (MT, LT).
Students will be required to participate in seminar discussions and to write three formative essays: two in the Michaelmas Term, and one in Lent.
E McClennen, Rationality and Dynamic Choice; D Hausman, The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics; S H Heap et al., The Theory of Choice; D Hausman and M McPherson, Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy; D Hausman (ed), The Philosophy of Economics: An Anthology; D Kahneman et al., Judgment under Uncertainty; A Sen . "The Discipline of Cost-Benefit Analysis"; G Cohen "On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice"; R Thaler and C Sunstein Nudge; A Sen, Development as Freedom; J Broome "Discounting the Future"
A two-hour written examination in the ST (67%) and a 2,000 word essay, due in the first week of ST (33%).