Antony Eagle

Antony Eagle

Choices, Models, and Morals: Foundations of Public Policy

Good public policy should be fair, effective, and rational. But all of these attributes are conceptually contentious. In this capstone course for the program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, we will take an interdisciplinary approach to these fundamental ideas in policy design and evaluation. The course will include at least the following topics: understanding theoretical explanations of social phenomena and the nature of economic models; the role of rationality in economic models (rational choice theory and game theory); causal models and causal inference in social science, and their role in policy interventions; the idea and reality of evidence-based policy; the nature of welfare, well-being, and welfare economics; markets and morals, including market failures; inequality, fairness, and distributive justice. The emphasis is on conceptual issues accessible to all PPE students. As a capstone, the course also provides a key opportunity for the PPE cohort to engage with one another.

Information about the course as delivered at Adelaide can be found in the Course Outline.


I welcome any feedback on the materials, as well as thoughts on omissions and ideas for additions.

Lecture notes

  1. Introduction
    1. PPE and the Philosophy of Economics: html notes | pdf slides
  2. Explanation in Economics
    1. Economic Explanation: html notes | pdf slides
    2. Rational Choice and its Limits: html notes | pdf slides
    3. Game Theory and Decision Theory: html notes | pdf slides
  3. Economic Theory and Observation
    1. Causal Explanation and Economic Models: html notes | pdf slides
    2. Statistics and Experiment in Economics: html notes | pdf slides
    3. Evidence-Based Policy and Evidence: html notes | pdf slides
  4. Ethics, Politics, and Economics
    1. Welfare and Well-Being: html notes | pdf slides
    2. Welfare Economics: html notes | pdf slides
    3. Markets and Market Failures: html notes | pdf slides
    4. Inequality and Distributive Justice: html notes | pdf slides
  5. Conclusion: Beyond the Individual
    1. Social Choice Theory: html notes | pdf slides

Markets, Models, and Morals by Antony Eagle is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0