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Philosophy of Economics

Edited by Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge University)
Assistant editor: Jack Wright (Cambridge University)
About this topic
Summary Philosophy of economics is a study of any philosophical issue that arises in connection with the discipline of economics. Currently it has three core areas: foundations, methodology and ethics. Foundations of economics encompass conceptual and metaphysical questions such as the nature of rationality and social ontology, seeking to clarify what we study when we study economics (preferences, individuals, institutions, societies etc?) and their properties and relations to each other. Methodology of economics, following on the traditional questions in philosophy of science, is concerned with the nature of knowledge that can be attained about the economy and its sources.  The ethical side of philosophy of economics is a study of normative issues such as justice, efficiency, equality, welfare, paternalism, coercion and such, that arise at the intersection of political philosophy and welfare economics.
Key works Daniel Hausman is responsible for kickstarting much of contemporary philosophy of economics. Hausman 2008 is a comprehensive encyclopedia article. Hausman 2008 is an anthology of classic essays from to J.S Mill and Marx to the present day. Hausman 2006 is a seminal study of normative assumptions in economics and their critical study. Hausman 1992 started and still informs many discussions in methodology of economics. Reiss 2009 presents an updated agenda. Mäki 2001 is a collection on the ontology of economics.
Introductions There is now a textbook in philosophy of economics: Reiss 2013. Other good introductions to philosophy of economics are just introductions to philosophy of social science: for example, Rosenberg 1995, Risjord 2014, and Elster 2007.
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See also:History/traditions: Philosophy of Economics
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  1. C. P. A. (1957). The Capitalist Revolution. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 11 (2):342-342.
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  2. M. A. (1969). Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 22 (3):569-570.
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  3. Klaus Abbink, Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Shmuel Zamir (2004). Fairness, Public Good, and Emotional Aspects of Punishment Behavior. Theory and Decision 57 (1):25-57.
    We report an experiment on two treatments of an ultimatum minigame. In one treatment, responders’ reactions are hidden to proposers. We observe high rejection rates reflecting responders’ intrinsic resistance to unfairness. In the second treatment, proposers are informed, allowing for dynamic effects over eight rounds of play. The higher rejection rates can be attributed to responders’ provision of a public good: Punishment creates a group reputation for being “tough” and effectively “educate” proposers. Since rejection rates with informed proposers drop to (...)
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  4. Mohammed Abdellaoui (2005). Editorial Statement. Theory and Decision 58 (1):1-2.
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  5. D. M. Acevedo, A. Y. Amoateng, I. Kalule-Sabiti, P. Ditlopo, S. Rajaram, T. S. Sunil, L. K. Zottarelli, N. Krieger, V. V. Shakhtarin & A. F. Tsyb (2003). The Impact of Economic Restructuring on Female Employment. Labor Policy and Interactions Between Government and Economy. Journal of Biosocial Science 35 (7):19-23.
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  6. Thomas Achatz & Franz Haslinger (1980). Economics Vs. Moral Philosophy: Comment. Theory and Decision 12 (3):279-288.
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  7. S. Adam (1980). Global Problems and the Development of Planning and Prognostic. Filosoficky Casopis 28 (6):882-904.
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  8. Philipp Aerni (forthcoming). 1.2 Learning From the Past: How to Bring Ethics and Economics in Line with the Real Nature of the Human Being. Common Knowledge: The Challenge of Transdisciplinarity.
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  9. Joseph Agassi (2009). Popper's Insights Into the State of Economics. In Zuzana Parusniková & R. S. Cohen (eds.), Rethinking Popper. Springer. 357--368.
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  10. Andrew Altman (1996). Arguing About Law an Introduction to Legal Philosophy. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  11. Jack Amariglio, Stephen Resnick & Richard Wolff (1990). Division and Difference in the "Discipline" of Economics. Critical Inquiry 17 (1):108.
    The existence and unity of a discipline called economics reside in the eye and mind of the beholder. The perception of economics's unity and disciplinarity itself arises in some, but not all, of the different schools of thought that we would loosely categorize as economic. Indeed, as we hope to show, the presumption of unity and disciplinarity—the idea that there is a center or “core” of propositions, procedures, and conclusions or a shared historical “object” of theory and practice—is suggested in (...)
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  12. Jahangir Amuzegar (forthcoming). Economic Systems in Search of Nations. Social Research.
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  13. Nejat Anbarci (1998). Simple Characterizations of the Nash and Kalai/Smorodinsky Solutions. Theory and Decision 45 (3):255-261.
    In this study we introduce two new properties, the Midpoint Outcome on a Linear Frontier (MOLF) and Balanced Focal Point (BFP) properties, to replace the Weak Pareto Optimality (WPO), Symmetry (SYM) and Independence of Equivalent Utility Representations (IEUR) properties in the axiomatic characterizations of the two most prominent solution concepts, namely the Nash and Kalai/Smorodinsky solutions, respectively.
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  14. William P. Anderson (2004). Mises Versus Weber on Bureaucracy and Sociological Method. Journal of Libertarian Studies 18:1-30.
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  15. Jonny Anomaly, Geoffrey Brennan, Michael Munger & Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (forthcoming). Philosophy, Politics, & Economics. Oxford University Press.
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  16. Murphey Antoine (forthcoming). Richard Cantillon, Banker and Economist. Journal of Libertarian Studies.
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  17. D. Archard (forthcoming). David Copp, Jean Hampton and John E. Roemer (Eds), The Idea of Democracy. Radical Philosophy.
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  18. Philip Arestis, Andrew Brown & Malcolm Sawyer (2003). 13 Critical Realism and the Political Economy of the Euro. In Paul Downward (ed.), Applied Economics and the Critical Realist Critique. Routledge. 233.
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  19. Thomas Aristotle, Robert Taylor & Wilks (1811). The Great, and Eudemian, Ethics, the Politics, and Economics, of Aristotle. Translated From the Greek. Printed for the Translator, ... By Robert Wilks,.
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  20. N. Scott Arnold (1990). Economists and Philosophers as Critics of the Free Enterprise System. The Monist 73 (4):621-641.
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  21. Max Ascoli (forthcoming). A Note of Dissent on" Economics Today". Social Research.
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  22. Max Ascoli (forthcoming). Society Through Pareto's Mind. Social Research.
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  23. Sam Ashman (2012). Economics and Political Economy Today: Introduction to the Symposium on Fine and Milonakis. Historical Materialism 20 (3):3-8.
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  24. A. B. Atkinson (2008). Welfare Economics and Giving for Development. In Kaushik Basu & Ravi Kanbur (eds.), Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen: Volume I: Ethics, Welfare, and Measurement and Volume Ii: Society, Institutions, and Development. Oup Oxford.
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  25. Anthony B. Atkinson (1993). What is Happening to the Distribution of Income in the UK? Proceedings of the British Academy 82:317-351.
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  26. Henry G. Aubrey (forthcoming). The Political Economy of International Monetary Reform. Social Research.
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  27. Mate Babić (2000). The Economics of Wage Determination in Mt. 20, 2-15. Disputatio Philosophica 2 (1):187-196.
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  28. Friedrich Baerwald (1941). Economics and Social Change. Thought 16 (4):601-605.
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  29. Harold W. Baillie (1999). Redman, Deborah A. The Rise of Political Economy as a Science: Methodology and the Classical Economists. Review of Metaphysics 53 (1):195-196.
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  30. W. Balzer (1985). The Proper Reconstruction of Exchange Economics. Erkenntnis 23 (2):185 - 200.
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  31. Philip M. Barnett (1983). Rational Behavior in Bargaining Situations. Noûs 17 (4):621-635.
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  32. Pierluigi Barrotta (2009). The Pursuit of Unhappiness. The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being , Daniel M. Haybron. Oxford University Press, 2008, XV + 357 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 25 (3):378-384.
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  33. Yota Batsaki (2009). A Heap of Worthless Fragments : The Nineteenth-Century Literary Revaluation of the Classical Statue. In Jack Amariglio, Joseph W. Childers & Stephen Cullenberg (eds.), Sublime Economy: On the Intersection of Art and Economics. Routledge.
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  34. Eddie K. Baumann (1998). A Comparison of Economic Problem Solving in Experts and Naïve Thinkers. Journal of Social Studies Research 56 (2).
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  35. William J. Baumol (2005). Errors in Economics and Their Consequences. Social Research: An International Quarterly 72 (1):1-26.
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  36. Arthur Peter Becker (1948). Some Philosophical Aspects of Economics. Philosophy of Science 15 (3):242-246.
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  37. Wilfred Beckerman (1973). Economic Growth and Welfare. Minerva 11 (4):495-515.
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  38. Roger Berkowitz & Taun N. Toay (eds.) (2013). The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis. Fordham University Press.
    The essays in this volume delve deeper into the cultural and intellectual foundations, philosophical ideas, political traditions, and economic movements that underlie the greatest financial crisis in nearly a century.
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  39. Thomas Berry (1987). Economics: Its Effects on the Life Systems of the World. In Thomas Mary Berry, Anne Lonergan, Caroline Richards & Gregory Baum (eds.), Thomas Berry and the New Cosmology. Twenty-Third Publications. 5--26.
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  40. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson (2011). Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters. Princeton University Press.
    Using the tools of modern political economics and combining economic theory with a bird's-eye view of the data, this book reinterprets Smith's pillars of prosperity to explain the existence of development clusters--places that tend to ...
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  41. Ken Binmore (2009). Review Symposium. Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (2):207-219.
  42. Ken Binmore (2005). Economic Man – or Straw Man? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):817-818.
    This commentary on the paper “Economic Man” in Cross-Cultural Perspective [20] is fiercely critical, but the criticism is not directed at the anthropological field work reported in the paper, which seems to me entirely admirable. The criticism is directed at the editorial rhetoric that accompanies the scientific reports of the experiments carried out in the fifteen small-scale societies studied. The rhetoric is markedly more subdued than in the book Foundations of Human Sociality [19] from which the current paper is extracted. (...)
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  43. Ken Binmore (2005). What Price the Moral High Ground? Ethical Dilemmas in Competitive Environments, by Robert H. Frank. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004, XII + 203 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 21 (2):309-311.
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  44. Ken Binmore (1991). Morality Within the Limits of Reason., Russell Hardin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988, Xx + 219 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 7 (01):112-119.
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  45. Jack Birner (1994). Stabilizing Dynamics; Constructing Economic Knowledge, E. Roy Weintraub. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, X + 177 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 10 (02):349-.
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  46. Francine D. Blau (2001). Economics of Gender. In N. J. Smelser & B. Baltes (eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 5995--6002.
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  47. Glenn C. Blomquist (2001). Value of Life, Economics Of. In N. J. Smelser & B. Baltes (eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 16132--16139.
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  48. L. A. Boland (1989). Book Reviews : Philosophy of Economics: A Critique of Demarcation. By Raphael Sassower. Lanham: University Press of America, 1985. Pp. Xx + 217. $11.75 (Paper. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 19 (2):231-232.
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  49. L. A. Boland (1985). Book Reviews : Philosophy in Economics. Edited by JOSEPH C. PITT. Dordrecht, Boston and London: D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1981, Pp. 203 + Index. $14.95 (Paper. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 15 (1):108-109.
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  50. L. A. Boland (1976). Book Reviews : An Economic Querist. By G. L. S. SHACKLE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973. Pp. 135. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 6 (1):93-94.
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