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Journal of Economic Literature: Vol. 51 No. 2 (June 2013)

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What's the Good of the Market? An Essay on Michael Sandel's What Money Can't Buy

Article Citation

Besley, Timothy. 2013. "What's the Good of the Market? An Essay on Michael Sandel's What Money Can't Buy." Journal of Economic Literature, 51(2): 478-95.

DOI: 10.1257/jel.51.2.478

Abstract

This essay will discuss the criticisms of the economic approach to markets offered by Michael Sandel's What Money Can't Buy. After reviewing the main arguments, the essay looks at these from three main angles. First, it relates them to different traditions of thinking about markets and their achievements that have been developed by economists. Second, it discusses the idea that markets can change values as argued by Sandel in light of recent related literature in economics. Third, it discusses some of the literature on alternatives to using the market to allocate resources and the pros and cons of these.

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Authors

Besley, Timothy (London School of Economics and Political Science)

JEL Classifications

A11: Role of Economics; Role of Economists
A13: Relation of Economics to Social Values
D40: Market Structure and Pricing: General
D63: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
P10: Capitalist Systems: General


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