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The Future of Law and EconomicsEssays in Reform and Recollection$
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Guido Calabresi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300195897

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300195897.001.0001

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Of Tastes and Values Ignored

Of Tastes and Values Ignored

Chapter:
(p.131) VII Of Tastes and Values Ignored
Source:
The Future of Law and Economics
Author(s):

Guido Calabresi

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300195897.003.0007

This chapter examines how economics treats—and should treat—tastes and values. It first considers those tastes, values, and resulting costs that many economists seem to ignore, or treat as irrational or not worth paying attention to, while also insisting that economics has nothing to say as to the validity and merit of tastes and values. It then analyzes the nature of this paradoxical attitude before outlining some reasons for what economic theory is in fact doing when it accepts some tastes, values, and costs, and rejects others. It also looks at some costs and values whose setting aside seems to be completely unjustified and goes on to focus on the economic analysis of law conclusion that a society's treatment of some merit goods is irrational or is Pareto violative. The chapter concludes by assessing the external moral costs of the commodification and commandification of some goods and of wealth distribution-dependent transactions in other goods.

Keywords:   economics, tastes and values, economic theory, merit goods, economic analysis of law, moral costs, commodification, commandification, wealth distribution

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