Mark Blaug on the normativity of welfare economics


  • D. Wade Hands University of Puget Sound, United States



positive and normative economics, Pareto optimality, welfare economics, ethical and methodological norms, Blaug-Hennipman debate


This article examines Mark Blaug's position on the normative character of Paretian welfare economics in general, and also specifically with respect to his debate with Pieter Hennipman over this question during the 1990s. The article also clarifies some of the confusions that emerged within the context of this debate, and provides as a conclusion some additional arguments supporting Mark Blaug's position, which he himself did not provide.

Author Biography

D. Wade Hands, University of Puget Sound, United States

D. Wade Hands is distinguished professor of economics at the University of Puget Sound in Washington state and has taught history of economic thought for over thirty years. He has written on a wide range of topics in the history of economic thought and economic methodology. He is co-editor of The Journal of Economic Methodology and the author of Reflection without rules: economic methodology and contemporary science theory (Cambridge University Press, 2001). His Agreement on demand: consumer choice theory in the 20th century, edited with Philip Mirowski, was published in 2006 by Duke University Press and The Elgar companion to recent economic methodology, edited with John B. Davis, was published in 2011.




How to Cite

Hands, D. W. (2014). Mark Blaug on the normativity of welfare economics. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 6(3), 1–25.