Retrospectives: James Buchanan: Clubs and Alternative Welfare Economics
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AbstractJames Buchanan wrote "An Economic Theory of Clubs" and invented clubs to support a form of welfare economics in which there is no social welfare function (SWF) and individual utility functions cannot be "read" by external observers. Clubs were a means to allow the implementation of individualized prices for public goods and services and to allow each individual to pay exactly the amount he wants to pay. He developed this project to answer and counter Paul Samuelson's analysis of public goods, in which social welfare functions play a crucial role. Buchanan and Samuelson disagreed over the allocation of the costs of the public good to each individual. To Buchanan, it was by relying on individual's preferences. To Samuelson, by using a SWF. Buchanan's clubs are thus foreign and incompatible with the traditional Samuelson-style public economics in which they are used.
CitationMarciano, Alain. 2021. "Retrospectives: James Buchanan: Clubs and Alternative Welfare Economics." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 35 (3): 243-56. DOI: 10.1257/jep.35.3.243
- B21 History of Economic Thought: Microeconomics
- B31 History of Economic Thought: Individuals
- D60 Welfare Economics: General
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