Sir Edwin Chadwick (1800–1890) is hardly a household name among economists, although he is a well-known hero to sanitation engineers and utilitarian social reformers. His brilliant and cunning ideas relating to contemporary economic policy are illuminated for the first time in this pioneering study.
The authors detail Chadwick’s sophisticated conceptions of moral hazard, common pool problems, asymmetric information, and theory of competition, all of which differ starkly from those promulgated by Adam Smith and other classical economists. Also examined are Chadwick’s views on government versus market role in dealing with problems created by natural monopoly, and whether some or all market problems justify government regulation or alterations of property rights. The authors investigate Chadwick’s utilitarian approach to labor, business cycles, and economic growth, contrasting his modern view with those of his classical economic contemporaries.
Chadwick’s enormous output and cutting-edge methods undoubtedly establish him as an original and trenchant thinker in economic matters as well as a prophetic voice on contemporary issues in economics. This unique look at his less familiar research will interest academic regulatory economists, sociologists, students and scholars of law and economics, and all those interested in the fundamentals of social reform.