Willem van der Deijl
Maximands of Social Policy: Norms, Values and Valuations.
Prof. Jack Vromen, prof. Werner Brouwer, prof. Harry Commandeur.
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.