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Incorporating Ethics into Economics: Problems and Possibilities

By D. Rowen and M. Dietrich


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.\u

Publisher: Department of Economics, University of Sheffield
Year: 2004
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