PhD defence of Willem van der Deijl on 26 October 2017

On Thursday 26 October Willem van der Deijl will defend his PhD thesis entitled 'Maximands of Social Policy: Norms, Values and Valuations'. Supervisors are Professors Harry Commandeur (Erasmus School of Economics), Jack Vromen (Faculty Philosophy Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Werner Brouwer (Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management).

About Maximands of Social Policy: Norms, Values and Valuations

An important aim of economic policies is to improve the welfare of those concerned (directly or indirectly). Economic theory has limited tools for normative evaluation. In recent years, alternatives to the approach of (new) welfare economics have become more popular. An influential example is a report ordered by then-president Sarkozy on alternative measures of social progress written by Joseph Stiglitz, Amarya Sen, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi in 2009.

In particular, happiness economics has arisen as a new field of study that offers an alternative normative framework for policy evaluation. Likewise, the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen, has become increasingly popular in the philosophical literature on social welfare.

My project is aimed at providing a framework for normative evaluation in economics. Such a framework should not only provide an answer to the question of how policy makers should conceive of what is good for those concerned, but should also be able to incorporate issues of equality and social justice. Moreover, the concepts themselves need to be sufficiently measurable to inform policy.


The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

More information

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

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