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Incorporating Ethics into Economics: Problems and Possibilities

Rowen, D. and Dietrich, M. (2004) Incorporating Ethics into Economics: Problems and Possibilities. Working Paper. Department of Economics, University of Sheffield ISSN 1749-8368


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In traditional economics the decision-making process for individuals has effectively no role for ethics as individuals are self-interested. The key concepts in economics which determine the role of ethics in the decision-making process are utility, rationality and methodological individualism and hence how these can be and are formulated and combined determines different roles for ethics in economics. Amitai Etzioni, Amartya Sen and John Broome use different definitions of these concepts and hence find different problems and possibilities for a greater role for ethics in economics. This paper integrates the different approaches of these authors and suggests a general mono-utility framework for incorporating ethics into economics whereby the concept of utility requires adaptation.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: The Sheffield Economics Research Paper (SERP) series offers a forum for the research output of the academic staff and research students of the Department of Economics, University of Sheffield. Papers are reviewed for quality and presentation by a departmental editor. However, the contents and opinions expressed remain the responsibility of the authors. All papers may be downloaded free on the understanding that the contents are preliminary and therefore permission from the author(s) should be sought before they are referenced.
Keywords: ethics, utility, methodological individualism
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Economics (Sheffield) > Sheffield Economics Research Papers Series
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2009 12:22
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2014 02:22
Published Version: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/yea...
Status: Published
Publisher: Department of Economics, University of Sheffield
Identification Number: Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series 2004006
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9892

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