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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Welfare economics—the normative branch of economics—is a consequentialist moral theory. Unlike deontological morality, at least in its basic form it attributes no intrinsic value to prohibitions on active or intentional harming of other people, lying, or promise-breaking, and does not allow people to prioritize their own interests over the overall good. The chapter critically examines several methods of incorporating deontological constraints and options into economic analysis of law and into welfare economics more generally. These methods include an analysis of the long-term and indirect effects of apparently efficient infringements of deontological constraints; a move from act- to rule-consequentialism; incorporating deontological concerns into the definition of good outcomes that should be maximized; and the treatment of moral judgments as preferences whose fulfillment should be maximized along with any other. In addition to these indirect ways, the chapter also examines the integration of thresholds constraints and options into economic analysis of law.

Keywords: consequentialism, deontology, threshold deontology, economic analysis of law, law and economics, threshold functions, moral preferences

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