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Summary

I am pleased and honoured that The Community of Advantage is the subject of this collection of insightful papers (Sugden 2018). It is particularly appropriate that the symposium is published in what is coming to be known as the Journal of Civil Economy. The understanding of economic life as cooperation for mutual benefit that I am trying to express through the phrase ‘community of advantage’ is in the same spirit as ‘civil economy’, the name that Antonio Genovesi—the Neapolitan who was the world’s first university professor of economics—wanted to give our discipline.

In this paper, I explain how the ideas in my book fit into the broad landscapes of normative and behavioural economics. I have the sense that some of my fellow behavioural economists see my approach to normative issues as not so much contractarian (which it professes to be) as contrarian. Undoubtedly, I deviate from what has become the mainstream position of behavioural economics. But that may reflect the fact that, although I have been a practitioner of behavioural economics since the pioneer era of the 1980s, I have worked at the interface of economics and philosophy for even longer. Much of my work as a philosophical economist has been concerned with concepts of liberty and opportunity. I will try to explain how these investigations have influenced my understanding of the normative implications of the findings of behavioural economics.

Details: International Review of Economics

Authors:   Robert Sugden

 

Posted on Monday 30th November 2020

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