Feminism, Fairness, and Welfare: An Invitation to Feminist Law and Economics

Posted: 18 Oct 2010

See all articles by Gillian K. Hadfield

Gillian K. Hadfield

University of Toronto; Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence; OpenAI; Center for Human-Compatible AI

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Date Written: December 2005


In recent years there has been a renewed effort to ground conventional law and economics methodology, with its exclusive focus on efficiency and income redistribution through the tax system, in modern welfare economics ( Kaplow & Shavell 1994, 2001 ). This effort raises a challenge to the possibility of a feminist law and economics: Is it possible to be a good (welfare) economist and still maintain the ethical and political commitments necessary to address feminist concerns with, for example, rights, inequality, and caring labor? In this review, I argue that modern welfare economics, rather than supporting the ethical minimalism of conventional methodology advocated by Kaplow and Shavell, ratifies the need for an ethically and politically informed economic analysis. Feminists can, and should, use the tools of both positive and normative economics to analyze feminist issues in law.

Suggested Citation

Hadfield, Gillian K., Feminism, Fairness, and Welfare: An Invitation to Feminist Law and Economics (December 2005). Annual Review of Law and Social Science (2005), Vol. 1, pp. 285-306, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1693350 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.lawsocsci.1.041604.115915

Gillian K. Hadfield (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

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Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence ( email )

OpenAI ( email )

Center for Human-Compatible AI ( email )

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United States

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