The Foundations of Welfare Economics.

First Separate Edition of John Richard Hicks' The Foundations of Welfare Economics; Inscribed by him to Lionel Charles Robbins

The Foundations of Welfare Economics.

HICKS, John Richard. [J.R.] [Lionel Robbins].


Item Number: 101542

London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1939.

First separate edition of Hicks’ seminal contribution to welfare economics which established the foundations for what would become the so-called ‘Hicks-Kaldor compensation test’. Octavo, original wrappers as issued. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front panel to fellow economist and mentor Lionel Charles Robbins “J.M. Keynes from J.R.H.” The recipient, British economist Lionel Charles Robbins, was a prominent member of the economics department at the London School of Economics. Robbins and the wider “Robbins circle” at the LSE during 1930s had an extraordinary influence on the Hicks’ development as he matured into one of leading pure economic theorists of the twentieth century. Hicks credited Robbins with initiating his interest in economic theory, stating in his ‘Commentary’ in the 1963 edition of The Theory of Wages that, “… he moved me from Cassel to Walras and Pareto, to Edgeworth and Taussig to Wicksell and the Austrians – with all of whom I was more at home at that stage than I was with Marshall and Pigou” (Hicks, 306). Although Hicks left for Cambridge in 1935, he would later tell Robbins “that his years at LSE were ‘the formative years of my life as an economist; I do not think I have had as important years since’” (Howson, 252). In near fine condition. Ax exceptional association.

Hicks was one of the pioneers of the "new welfare economics" (New Palgrave), as opposed to the "old" welfare economics of Pigou and Marshall. In an appeal to the Paretian concepts of efficiency and improvement as the "satisfaction of wants subject to the constraints imposed by limited production and the wants of other people, Hicks argued that the economist was 'obliged' to consider how far economic activities were effective in achieving the ends for which they are designed: to explain how efficiently the economic system adjusts means to ends" (Backhouse, 4).

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