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date: 25 June 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is a philosophical discussion of the relationship between love and economics. Because problems like the gender wage gap are analyzed through economic reasoning but also involve relations like love, and because economic methods are increasingly used to address a wide range of domains including family life, this relationship is important to understand. On the face of it, there is a tension between love, which is often thought to essentially involve caring and other-regarding preferences and attitudes, and the self-interestedness characteristic of neoclassical models of human behavior. The article analyzes various attempts to finesse the difficulty, such as Gary Becker’s characterization of altruism in terms of interdependent utility functions and Ann Cudd’s distinction between self-interestedness and selfishness, then draws on philosophical literature to examine implications of various approaches.

Keywords: love, economics, altruism, Gary Becker, preference, self-interest, selfishness, caring, other-regarding preference

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