Normative Ethics and Welfare Economics Conference

October 26–27, 2018

8th Floor of Jon M. Huntsman Hall

Normative issues are becoming increasingly central in economics, from the study of inequality to the assessment of social programs to financial regulation to climate policy. The aim of this conference is to bring together economists and philosophers to discuss the ethical foundations of economic policy evaluations. The conference will focus on themes ranging from behavioral welfare economics and paternalism to algorithms and data to the measurement of well-being.  There will also be talks about moral pluralism in economics and uncertainty in valuation, on the ethics and economics of climate change, and on poverty, inequality and global health.

This conference will be the third in a series. The first was funded by the Becker-Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago in 2014, and the second was at the Harvard Business School.  Videos and papers from the previous conferences can be found at and

This conference is divided into seven main sessions, each devoted to a different normative question. In each session, both economic and philosophical perspectives will be presented, and ample time will be provided for audience discussion. The conference will close with a distinguished panel of economists and philosophers, who will discuss the themes raised by the conference.


Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Security

University of Pennsylvania University Research Foundation

University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Economics

Penn Wharton Budget Model

Wharton Department of Business Economics and Public Policy


Conference Organizers:

Itai Sher

Benjamin Lockwood