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Viktor J. Vanberg
This important research review discusses some of the most celebrated and classical literature in the field of choice and economic welfare. It analyses material exploring how economics as a scientific enterprise may inform political decision-making. A premise that is explored paradigmatically through different interpretations including utility-individualism in the context of welfare economics, preference-individualism in social choice theory, and choice-individualism in constitutional economics. The review covers the subject’s founding literature as well as the more contemporary pieces, which have sparked further discussion in the field. This review promises to be valuable to researchers and scholars alike as well as to those gravitating towards this fascinating topic.
The powerful theorems of welfare economics operate under a range of assumptions. Two of the most significant are the existence of competitive markets for all goods and services – including futures markets – and the unbounded rationality of all economic agents who act independently to maximize payoffs. In the contributions discussed in this research review, economists come to grips with the consequences of markets falling short of assumptions, as well as the response of institutions to observed market characteristics. This comprehensive study will be of interest to economists and policymakers who wish to understand the strengths and limitations of the market mechanism of resource allocation.