This course will examine the correct (useful) way to define the concept "the impact of a choice on economic efficiency," the economically-efficient approach to take to predicting or postdicting the economic efficiency of any private or governmental choice, the relevance of the economic efficiency of a choice to its justness or moral desirability (rights-considerations aside), and the relevance of the economic efficiency of an interpretation or application of the law to its correctness as a matter of law. The course will also criticize canonical writings that articulate or manifest conclusions on these matters that differ from the Lecturer's. Although several weeks of the course will be devoted to the definitional and relevance issues, the majority of the course will address the economically efficient way to predict or postdict the economic efficiency of a choice in an economy that inevitably contains large numbers of Pareto imperfections of all types and uses resources in a large number of ways. More specifically, the course will consider in detail the negative implications of The General Theory of Second Best for the way in which economists approach economic-efficiency analysis and develop and apply a so-called distortion-analysis approach to economic-efficiency analysis that the Lecturer believes responds defensibly to the interconnections whose importance Second-Best Theory highlights.
No background in economics, moral philosophy, or jurisprudence will be presupposed, though students without such backgrounds will have to work harder in the sections of the course to which these fields are relevant.
There will be a mid-term as well as a final examination.