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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Freedom is one of the central concepts in political philosophy, and has played an increasing role in economics, especially in normative economics, in recent decades. Economic mechanisms are often evaluated at least partly by investigating how such mechanisms may promote individual freedom, and new conceptions of individual well-being have been proposed by incorporating individual freedom. Given this background, this chapter discusses freedom and its value with a focus on the conceptual structure of freedom and the instrumental as well as intrinsic value of freedom. Several issues including the relationship between the measurement of freedom and (i) individual preferences, (ii) a person’s reasonable preferences, (iii) diversity of options, and (iv) the constraints faced by individuals, and the notion of opportunity sets, a key component of the conceptual structure of freedom, when interdependence among individuals is present are discussed. The chapter also explores issues relating to interpersonal comparisons of the value of freedom.

Keywords: freedom, opportunity, preference, value of freedom, measurement of freedom, constraints, instrumental value, intrinsic value, diversity, reasonable preferences, interdependence

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