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Principles of Political Economy: Economics & Philosophy (PH337)

This module is only available to final year PPE students.

Economic policies have many effects on markets and other ways of producing and distributing goods and services. Economic policies influence, for example, how many different types of food you can buy and at what prices, how income and wealth are distributed, and how the health care system is organised.

What should the goals of economic policies be and how can we measure the likely benefits of different policies? One possibility is that economic policies should foster economic growth. This supports measuring how national income per capita changes over time, as all countries do. Another possibility is that they should strive to make a society more just. This supports measuring the distribution of income and wealth as well as of other goods. For example, we might want to know how healthy rich and poor people are, how access to education changes over time for different social groups, or how happy different people report they are.

This module, which is co-taught by an economist and a philosopher, aims to help you gain an understanding of the ethics of markets and economic policy. We will help you combine the insights and tools that economists and philosophers use, focusing on topics such as the following:

  • Rational and moral choice: how do consumers, companies, or policy-makers make economic choices and how should they make these choices?
  • The goals of economic policy: efficiency or social justice?
  • The regulation of markets: should ethical concerns limit market trade?
  • Evaluating and measuring policy success: national income or happiness?
Economics and Philosophy

Module Director:

Kirk Surgener


This module is worth 15 CATS.