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Economic theory and the welfare state : a survey and interpretation

Barr, Nicholas ORCID: 0000-0002-5325-2055 (1992) Economic theory and the welfare state : a survey and interpretation. Journal of Economic Literature, 30 (2). pp. 741-803. ISSN 0022-0515

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'I propose here the view that, when the market fails to achieve an optimal state, society will, to some extent at least, recognize the gap, and nonmarket social institutions will arise attempting to bridge it....' (Kenneth Arrow 1963, p. 947). 'Economic theorists traditionally banish discussions of information to footnotes. Serious consideration of costs of communication, imperfect knowledge ... would, it is believed, complicate without informing.... [T]his comforting myth is false. Some of the most important conclusions of economic theory are not robust to considerations of imperfect information' (Michael Rothschild and Joseph Stiglitz 1976, p. 629). 'That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair of political humanity' (George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor's Dilemma, 1911).

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Divisions: European Institute
LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2008
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 12:11

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