Reflection on Microeconomic Policy Frameworks in Australia, and a Suggestion about Fairness Jonathan Pincus

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Jonathan Pincus
For economists, the main test of a microeconomic policy change is its effect on efficiency: gains minus losses, equally weighted. However, it is standard economics that individuals value losses more than gains. Moreover, imposing large, uncompensated and uninsurable policy-induced losses would be widely regarded as unfair, when they are merely collateral damage from policy action. The article argues the case for adjusting the calculation of efficiency to take account of this 'unfairness' and discusses how it could be done. The context is the relatively recent acceptance in Australia of competition, if planned and regulated, as being generally socially beneficial.
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