Wicksell on Pareto: Efficiency, Welfare, and Distribution

33 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2017

See all articles by Marianne Johnson

Marianne Johnson

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2, 2017

Abstract

No individual in the history of public economics has been subject to more contentious discussion than Knut Wicksell – and perhaps no concept subjected to more diverse interpretation than Wicksell’s unanimity rule. The story begins in 1896 with the publication of Wicksell’s public finance treatise, Finanztheoretische Untersuchungen, and starts to take shape in 1906 with the publication of Pareto’s Manual of Political Economy. The crux of the matter hinges on the relationship between Wicksell’s unanimity rule and Pareto’s optimality. This article examines Wicksell’s one-sided debate with Pareto in sociological, economic, and methodological terms, and evaluates Pareto’s influence on Wicksell’s subsequent analysis of collective economic welfare. Also considered is the trajectory of their economic ideas that led to an eventual convergence in public choice.

Keywords: Knut Wicksell, Vilfredo Pareto, Efficiency, Unanimity, Distribution, Welfare

JEL Classification: B2, H4

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Marianne, Wicksell on Pareto: Efficiency, Welfare, and Distribution (March 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2926587 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2926587

Marianne Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh - Department of Economics ( email )

800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
United States
920-424-2230 (Phone)
920-424-1734 (Fax)

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