This book is a heavily revised and retitled version of Economic Analysis and Moral Philosophy. We added “Public Policy” to the title to emphasize the relevance of this analysis to policy questions. The book is a descendant of a survey essay, “Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy,” which we published in the July 1993 issue of the Journal of Economic Literature. Though now dated, that survey essay may still be of use to readers for its extensive references to relevant literature. We would like to thank John Roemer for commissioning that essay and for the detailed criticisms he offered of several drafts. Others who were of tremendous help with the first edition were Richard Arneson, Henry Bruton, Nancy Cartwright, Marc Fleurbaey, John Kautsky, Eric Kramer, Philippe Mongin, Amartya Sen, Julius Sensat, Max Steuer, Hamish Stewart, Alain Trannoy, Gordon Winston, students at Williams College and the London School of Economics, and anonymous referees. Harry Brighouse, Henry Bruton, Lester Hunt, Andrew Levine, Patrick McCartan, Jonathan Riley, David Ruben, Larry Samuelson, and Daniel Wikler read drafts of chapters of the first edition and offered valuable assistance. The research and writing of the first edition were supported by a collaborative research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Hausman also gratefully acknowledges the support of a Vilas Associate Award from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Since philosophical reflection on ethics continues apace, as does the development of economic concepts and tools that may be of use to moral philosophers, we thought that a new edition was called for. Although we have preserved the overall structure and many of the specific analyses, distinctions, and arguments of the first edition, we have brought the discussion up to date and added examples that we hope will further illuminate the issues we discuss. We aim to reach a large audience of those interested in economics and policy analysis, and we have tried to avoid unnecessary jargon and complexities.
In preparing this revised edition, we were aided by and would like to thank Elizabeth Anderson, Mavis Biss, Richard Bradley, Harry Brighouse, Michel De Vroey, Jeffrey Friedman, Francesco Guala, David Hausman, Joshua Hausman, Bernd Irlenbusch, William Jaeger, Philippe Mongin, Colin Patrick, David Schmitz, Russ Shafer-Landau, William Thomson, Peter Vanderschraft, Joel Velasco, and David Zimmerman for detailed criticisms and suggestions for improvement.