First published in 1982, Introduction to Political Economy is a clear and concise introduction to the normative aspects of economics by one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject. In this highly readable book, Professor Mishan takes the student to the heart of the subject without recourse to algebra and with only the simplest of diagrams. The author carefully distinguishes the various meanings of the terms political economy, normative economics, welfare economics and allocative economics. He considers the standard allocation rules and the crucial concepts of consumer surplus and rent, which are so important to cost-benefit analysis, while then going on to resolve the paradoxes of the efficiency criterion. Lastly, Professor Mishan assesses both the social worth of radical conservatism, which is associated with the Chicago School of Economics, and the relevance of the modern theory of welfare economics to social welfare.

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Introduction to Political Economy

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Part One: The agenda of political economy

chapter 1|12 pages

Introductory observations

chapter 5|3 pages

Things to come: a preview

chapter 6|9 pages

The basic economic assumptions

part |2 pages

Part Two: Allocation within a partial economic context

chapter 10|8 pages

The difficulty of measuring rent

chapter 12|11 pages

Marginal cost pricing

chapter 13|7 pages

Second best and third best

part |2 pages

Part Three: Collective goods and bads

part |2 pages

Part Four: Resource allocation within a general context

chapter 19|7 pages

Uses of a general economic context

chapter 20|6 pages

Optimality for the economy

chapter 21|10 pages

What is an efficient distribution of goods?

chapter 22|8 pages

Economic efficiency: a paradox

chapter 23|8 pages

Pareto optimality: an empty vessel

chapter 24|7 pages

Resolving the apparent paradox

part |2 pages

Part Five: Sources of economic failure in a technological age

chapter 25|3 pages

Introductory remarks

chapter 26|4 pages

The folklore of the market 1

chapter 27|6 pages

The folklore of the market 2

chapter 31|6 pages

Concluding remarks