Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Preference, Value, Choice, and Welfare

$32.95 (P)

  • Date Published: December 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107695122

$ 32.95 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book is about preferences, principally as they figure in economics. It also explores their uses in everyday language and action, how they are understood in psychology, and how they figure in philosophical reflection on action and morality. The book clarifies and for the most part defends the way in which economists invoke preferences to explain, predict, and assess behavior and outcomes. Hausman argues, however, that the predictions and explanations economists offer rely on theories of preference formation that are in need of further development, and he criticizes attempts to define welfare in terms of preferences and to define preferences in terms of choices or self-interest. The analysis clarifies the relations between rational choice theory and philosophical accounts of human action. The book also assembles the materials out of which models of preference formation and modification can be constructed, and it comments on how reason and emotion shape preferences.

    • Most up-to-date accessible synthesis and critique of the crucial notion of preferences in economic analysis and related literatures
    • Author is one of the US's leading philosophers of economics
    • Intended for audiences in philosophy, political science and social analysis as well as economics, usable as upper-level undergraduate text
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    “Daniel Hausman has given us a careful, thoughtful disposition on the nature of preferences, which lie at the heart of economics. We thereby learn the basis for what economists are practicing when they are preaching.” – George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001

    “To its great loss, mainstream economics has drifted far from philosophy. Dan Hausman, a longtime force against the drift, brings a lifetime of research to this authoritative account of preferences – what they do and should mean to economists and how we can restore a welfare economics that is philosophically and psychologically sound. As social science once again comes together – a project to which this book greatly contributes – this will be one of its central texts.” – Angus Deaton, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

    “In this penetrating book, Daniel Hausman lays to rest simplistic as well as currently fashionable theories about what preferences are. I think his conception gets it exactly right.” – Jon Elster, Columbia University

    “Not only is Dan Hausman an outstanding philosopher but he also has a profound understanding of economics and its fundamental concepts. Both these characteristics are on display in this excellent book. Economists will feel a little uncomfortable as some of their most cherished ideas are examined in forensic detail, but Hausman's analysis of preferences choice and welfare places these concepts on firm philosophical foundations, thereby enabling the construction of both better theory and more sensible policy.” – Julian Le Grand, London School of Economics

    “Daniel Hausman is one of the world’s leading philosophers of economics. In this subtle and intelligent book he examines the concept of preference as used in microeconomics, game theory, and welfare economics. He uncovers the tensions between the different interpretations of preference in economics. He offers a resolution that challenges some of the discipline’s most cherished dogma but is broadly consistent with its existing practice. It is difficult to imagine a more convincing philosophical defense of what most economists do.” – Robert Sugden, University of East Anglia

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107695122
    • length: 168 pages
    • dimensions: 238 x 153 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.24kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Preferences in Positive Economics:
    2. Preference axioms and their implications
    3. Revealed preference theory
    4. Preferences, decision theory, and consequentialism
    5. Game theory and consequentialism
    6. Constraints and counterpreferential choice
    Part II. Preferences, Welfare, and Normative Economics:
    7. Preference satisfaction and welfare
    8. Preferences in welfare economics
    Part III. Psychology, Rational Evaluation, and Preference Formation:
    9. The psychology of choice
    10. Constructing preferences
    11. Conclusions.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Ethics and Economics
    • Ethics, Justice, and Economics
    • Intro to Political Theory (POS 250)
  • Author

    Daniel M. Hausman, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Daniel M. Hausman is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was educated at Harvard and Cambridge Universities and received his Ph.D. in 1978 from Columbia University. His research has centered on epistemological, metaphysical and ethical issues at the boundaries between economics and philosophy. He co-founded the Cambridge University Press journal Economics and Philosophy with Michael McPherson and co-edited it from 1984–1994. He is the author of Capital, Profits, and Prices (1981), The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics (1992), Causal Asymmetries (1998) and Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy (2006, with Michael McPherson), among other titles. He has published more than 130 essays in academic journals in philosophy and economics. In 2009, Professor Hausman was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.