Cover: Theories of Distributive Justice, from Harvard University PressCover: Theories of Distributive Justice in PAPERBACK

Theories of Distributive Justice

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$50.00 • £43.95 • €45.95

ISBN 9780674879201

Publication Date: 01/13/1998


352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

A number of line illustrations


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This book is a synthesis of work on distributive justice carried on in the past fifty years by economists and political philosophers… It is important in its own right and can be recommended to anyone with an interest in the subject who does not black out at the sight of a symbol… [A] remarkable achievement. I know of nobody else who combines Roemer’s mastery of formal analysis with his respect for the integrity of political philosophy and his deep understanding of it.—Brian Barry, Times Higher Education Supplement

In attempting to summarize and evaluate [a] large body of literature from the perspective of both economics and philosophy, Roemer set himself an ambitious goal. He has succeeded admirably… It will be invaluable to those wishing to understand the precise significance of recent contributions to the theory of distributive justice. Even those who choose to skip the more technical sections will appreciate the author’s profound knowledge of his subject and his lucid prose… [This is] as balanced and fair as one is likely to see on a topic which often generates more heat than light.—A.F. Shorrocks, Journal of Economics [UK]

I find Roemer’s critique of the work of both economists and philosophers penetrating. He is especially good at showing how early formulations in philosophy were found wanting and subsequently revised, giving one insight into the evolution of philosophical ideas. Roemer’s most impressive contribution, however, is not in synthesizing the philosophical literature but in formalizing its suppositions and drawing out their implications, using the methodological apparatus of modern economics. Throughout [the book] Roemer takes pains to discuss the broader meaning of his theorems in order to make his book more accessible to noneconomists. I believe that he largely succeeds, making the book one that political scientists and less formally trained public choice theorists can benefit from reading.—Steven J. Brams, Public Choice

In this book, Roemer gives us a very useful overview of [this] field… The main results of social choice and axiomatics of resource allocation are presented in a clear and non-technical, albeit rigorous, way, and are put in the perspective of philosophical debates on justice. Moreover, the lively style of this book makes it a very pleasant reading… This book is a very good synthesis and a very important contribution to a better understanding of normative economics, and to the dialogue between philosophers and economists. It gives the impression that what was once welfare economics and then social choice theory is now reaching a new stage of maturity, in particular thanks to Roemer’s own contributions to the field, and at the same time is full of promises for future developments.—Marc Fleurbaey, Social Choice and Welfare

Roemer maintains that the work of economists and philosophers on distributive justice can benefit from mutual acquaintance… The book is valuable.Library Journal

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