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Equity and Choice offers a new answer to an age-old problem: the meaning of a just or equitable distribution of resources. Julian Le Grand examines the principal interpretations of equity used by economists and political philosophers, and argues that none captures the essence of the term as well as an alternative conception relating equity to the existence or otherwise of individual choice. He shows that this conception is not only philosophically well-grounded but is also directly relevant to key areas of distributional policy. The theoretical argument is complemented by detailed discussion of the application of the central idea to specific areas of policy, including the distribution of health and health care, central government grants to local governments and the measurement of income for tax purposes. The book also includes chapters on the elusive trade-off between equity and efficiency, and on the incorporation of equity considerations into the measurement of changes in economic welfare. Equity and Choice is written by an economist, but is intended for political philosophers and social policy analysts as well as economists.
Hence the key chapters are written in a non-technical fashion, with specialized material relegated to appendices. This book is a unique combination of philosophical, economic and policy analysis and represents a major contribution in all three areas.