Theories of Distributive Justice (20248). 2 units. In Fall 2014, a good portion of this seminar will be spent reading and discussing Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard Univ. Press, 2014), the most important book on income distribution in some years. The course will then survey the main theories of distributive justice proposed by economists and political philosophers since 1950, critiquing each theory from both the economic and philosophical perspective. Topics covered include Arrow's impossibility theorem and its resolution; axiomatic bargaining theory (J. Nash and followers); utilitarianism according to J. Harsanyi and others; egalitarianism according to J. Rawls and A. Sen; the veil of ignorance as a thought experiment; neo-Lockeanism according to R. Nozick; resource egalitarianism according to R. Dworkin; and equality of opportunity according to R. Arneson, G.A. Cohen, and J. Roemer. Besides Piketty's book, there will be readings posted on the class website. Some background at the level of intermediate micro-economics is required. An appropriate prerequisite is PLSC 517. There will be some problem sets and short essays. Permission of the instructor required. Also PLSC 595a/ECON 791a. J. Roemer.
Note: This course will meet according to the calendar of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.