Policy@Manchester New Researchers Network Forum | Can economics tell us which public policy to choose?
|Starts:||16:00 26 Feb 2014|
|Ends:||17:00 26 Feb 2014|
|What is it:||Talk|
|Organiser:||Institute of Population Health|
|Who is it for:||Adults, Current University students, University staff|
|Speaker:||Ian Jacob, Malcolm Oswald|
Host: Institute of Population Health
About the event:
The New Researchers Network is pleased to host Malcolm Oswald from the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy discussing the role of economics and ethics in decision making. The NRN Forum series aims to provide a space for informal discussion and exchange of ideas for PhD students, postdoctoral and early career researchers who are interested in policy. After a short introduction by Malcolm, the floor will be open for what is shaping up to be an exciting debate.
February Forum: Can economics tell us which public policy to choose?
John Broome, formerly a professor of economics, and now Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University, writes:
“In contexts that involve conflicts between the interests of different people, normative claims are certainly ethical, and this includes virtually all normative claims that are made in economics. For example, to claim that the interest rate ought to go up raises a conflict of interest between those who stand to gain by an increase (who perhaps mostly live in the South) and those who stand to lose by an increase (who perhaps mostly live in the North).
So economics inevitably involves ethics. But most economists don’t like to engage in ethical theory. As you know, economists are self-effacing people, who don’t like to throw their weight about, and they hate the idea of imposing their ethical views on other people. So they sometimes pretend to themselves and other people that economics is an ethics-free zone.”
In this discussion, I want to explore whether these arguments of Broome’s are fair, and whether economists can provide policy advice without engaging with ethical or political theory. I will argue that economics cannot provide answers to public policy questions by analysing data alone – economists need to look to the philosophical roots of their discipline.
Organisation: Centre for Health Economics
Organisation: Centre for Social Ethics and Policy
Travel and Contact Information
Jean McFarlane Building