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Economics and Social Welfare

8:00 Seminar

This course will examine the question, “What Is a Good Society?”  We will focus on contributions economists have made to answer this question, in particular what they have written about economic organization and economic policy.  We will look at policy on markets.  Do we get the best results if we let markets run without regulation?  When should the government step in and regulate markets?  What can it do when there are problems of pollution?  Scarce resources?  Ignorant consumers?  Dangerous conditions?  Collusion?  We will look at problems of workers.  I society improved by policy on discrimination?  Collective action?  Minimum wages?  Can these problems be best addressed locally, nationally or internationally? We will look at problems of entire countries.  What can a country do to develop?  Should it protect its own industries or engage in international competition, joining the WTO?  We will look at what is the best macro-economy.  Should policy fight inflation, unemployment or stagnation?