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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 Altruism, Beneficence, and Not-for-Profit Institutions

Of Altruism, Beneficence, and Not-for-Profit Institutions

(p.90) V Of Altruism, Beneficence, and Not-for-Profit Institutions
The Future of Law and Economics

Guido Calabresi

Yale University Press

This chapter examines whether altruistic behavior or beneficence is an efficient way of producing a good such as medical care or education, and whether not-for-profit institutions deliver a particular good or service as cheaply as self-interested ones. The notion that self-interest gets us what we want more cheaply presents us with a typical law and economics problem. If self-interest is more effective at producing the goods we want, the question is why there is so much altruism, so much beneficence, and so many not-for-profit structures in the world. This chapter considers altruism and beneficence in relation to tastes and values from an economic perspective. It also discusses the implications of treating altruism, beneficence, and not-for-profit institutions as ends rather than means. Finally, it explores what kinds of modified command and markets are most effective in optimizing the production of goods of this sort.

Keywords:   altruism, beneficence, not-for-profit institutions, self-interest, law and economics, tastes and values, modified command and markets

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