Welfare Economics and the Theory of the State

Welfare Economics and the Theory of the State

Welfare Economics and the Theory of the State

Welfare Economics and the Theory of the State


This volume is a somewhat revised version of my Ph.D. thesis which was submitted to the University of London in the spring of 1949. It was written under the supervision of Lionel Robbins. I shall make no attempt to indicate the extent to which I am indebted to him in this and in other matters, largely because I cannot hope to do it adequately. The same difficulty prevents sufficient acknowledgment of the contribution of my wife, to whom I dedicate this book.

An inestimable contribution has been made by many of those who, as students, teachers or frequent visitors have helped make the London School of Economics the pleasant and stimulating place it is. Any list must be woefully incomplete; I mention only a few whose influence was most immediate: Graeme Dorrance, David Finch, Jan Graaff, Frank and Dorothy Hahn, Friedrich Hayek and Ralph Turvey.

I am also most grateful to Mr. Marcus Flemming and Professors Lutz and Viner for their criticisms and suggestions on which most of the work of revision was based, and to Mr. Richard Quandt for his help in proof-reading and indexing.

The reader will no doubt note that various arguments are closely related to views expounded by Mr. Little in his Critique of Welfare Economics, or to Haavelmo analysis in The Notion of Involuntary Economic Decisions (Econometrica, January 1950). My manuscript was substantially completed before either of these appeared in print, and I have contented myself with several brief comments and references whose hasty insertion is no doubt apparent. Suffice it to say that I was delighted to find myself in such company.

Finally, an apology for the grandiloquent title of the book. It came closer to describing the subject than any other I could think of.


Princeton University. June 1950.

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