Ethics and Public Policy
- Promote research on the ethical dimensions of public policy.
- Improve ethics education for Public Policy/Public Affairs/Public Administration students.
- Build a community of teachers and researchers.
- Scholars teaching and conducting research on the normative dimension of public policy.
October 15th 9:30am-11:00am EDT Mollie Gerver, Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Political Theory, Department of Government, University of Essex
Please register for Zoom meeting here.
Title: Asylum Offsetting
Abstract: States have an obligation to assist refugees, but some states assist refugees via means other than granting them asylum. In other words, they offset their failure to grant refugees asylum by helping refugees in other ways, such as by sending them aid in camps in low-income countries. Such Asylum Offsetting can be wrong in virtue of intentions, as when states send aid to refugees abroad to avoid accepting non-white refugees, and it can be wrong in virtue of its effects, as when states send aid less effective than offering asylum. I demonstrate that these wrongs can be avoided if states engage not in Asylum Offsetting, but in Moral Trades. Moral Trades arise when Y morally values φ-ing, X morally values ψ-ing, and X does φ in return for Y doing ψ (Ord 2015). In the context of refugee protection, a state X which values sending aid abroad might agree to grant asylum to many refugees, despite not valuing accepting these refugees, in return for another state which values asylum for refugees giving a large amount of aid abroad, despite this other state not valuing giving aid abroad. Moral trades avoid wrongs common in Asylum Offsetting, so long as no offsetting is involved. Offsetting can be involved in moral trades if one state X commits a wrong and offsets this with φ-ing, because Y values φ-ing, in return for Y offsetting its wrong with ψ-ing, because X values ψ-ing. For example, a state might wrongly use violence to deter refugees from arriving and offsets this by sending aid which Y values, but only if state Y which is wrongly refusing to send aid offsets this by accepting refugees which X values. I argue that policies should shift towards moral trades involving neither wrongs nor offsetting, but that moral trades with wrongs and offsetting are superior to moral trades alongside wrongs and no offsetting.
November 19th 9:30am-11:00am EST Andreas T. Schmidt Associate Professor in Political Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen
Zoom details and registration information to come.
Title: “Do We Have Too Much Choice?”
Abstract: In institutional design, securing freedom of choice for individuals is clearly important. But how much choice should we aim for? Various theorists – including Gerald Dworkin, Joseph Raz, and Barry Schwartz – argue that above some level, choice seems to improve neither wellbeing nor autonomy. Worse still, much psychology research suggests that too much choice even makes us worse off. Such reasons suggest we should adopt the Sufficiency View: increasing choice is only important up to a sufficiency level L, where L is not too far from the level enjoyed by well-off citizens in rich liberal countries today. I argue that we should reject the Sufficiency View and accept Liberal Optimism instead: expanding freedom of choice should remain an important priority even far beyond levels enjoyed in rich liberal countries today. I argue that none of the arguments given for the Sufficiency View work. Importantly, neither psychological evidence nor any broader social trends support it. If anything, they support Liberal Optimism instead. I also indicate why further increases are possible and desirable and briefly sketch some implications for debates around immigration, economic growth and markets, and the value of community.
December 3rd 9:30am-11:00am EST Emily McTernan, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University College London
Zoom details and registration information to come.
Blake, Michael. “What is the Border For?” Journal of Moral Philosophy 17, no. 4 (2020): 379-397. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1163/17455243-20192983
Cohen, Elizabeth F. Illegal: How America’s Lawless Immigration Regime Threatens Us All. New York: Basic Books: 2020.
De Wispelaere, Jurgen, and Leticia Morales. “Emergency Basic Income during the Pandemic.” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30, no. 2 (2021): 248-254. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963180120000808
Engster, Daniel. “A Public Ethics of Care for Policy Implementation.” American Journal of Political Science 64, no. 3 (2020): 621-633. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12487
Espíndola, Juan. “Low-Fee Private Schools in Developing Nations: Some Cautionary Remarks.” Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric 12, no. 1 (2020): 55-77. https://doi.org/10.21248/gjn.12.01.229
Fleurbaey, Marc, Maddalena Ferranna, Mark Budolfson, Francis Dennig, Kian Mintz-Woo, Robert Socolow, Dean Spears, and Stephane Zuber. “The Social Cost of Carbon: Valuing Inequality, Risk, and Population for Climate Policy.” The Monist 102, no. 1 (2019): 84-109. https://doi.org/10.1093/monist/ony023
Gerver, Mollie. “The Case for Permanent Residency for Frontline Workers.” American Political Science Review Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055421000708
Gerver, Mollie. “Consent and Third-Party Coercion.” Ethics 131, no. 2 (2021): 246-269. https://doi.org/10.1086/711208
Gheaus, Anca. “The Feminist Argument against Supporting Care.” Journal of Practical Ethics 8, no. 1: 1-27. https://www.jpe.ox.ac.uk/papers/the-feminist-argument-against-supporting-care/
Heath, Joseph. The Machinery of Government: Public Administration and the Liberal State. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
Hosein, Adam Omar. The Ethics of Migration: An Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2019.
Hosein, Adam Omar. “Racial Profiling and a Reasonable Sense of Inferior Political Status.” Journal of Political Philosophy 26, no. 3 (2018): e1-e20. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1111/jopp.12162
Kelleher, J. Paul. “Pure Time Preference in Intertemporal Welfare Economics.” Economics & Philosophy 33, no. 3 (2017): 441-473. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266267117000074
MacKay, Douglas. “Government Policy Experiments and the Ethics of Randomization.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 48, no. 1 (2020): 319-352. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1111/papa.12174
McTernan, Emily. “Taking Offense: An Emotion Reconsidered.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 49, no. 2 (2021): 179-208. https://doi.org/10.1111/papa.12188
McTernan, Emily. “Justice, Feasibility, and Social Science as it is.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22, no. 1 (2019): 27-40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-018-9970-y
Panitch, Vida. “Liberalism, Commodification and Justice.” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 19, no. 1 (2020): 62-82. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1177/1470594X19877653
Panitch, Vida, and L. Chad Horne. “Commodification, Inequality, and Kidney Markets.” Social Theory and Practice 44, no. 1 (2018): 121-143. https://doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract201812531
Pérez-Muñoz, Cristian. “The Strange Silence of Latin American Political Theory.” Political Studies Review Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1177/14789299211023342
Poama, Andrei. “Social Injustice, Disadvantaged Offenders, and the State’s Authority to Punish.” Journal of Political Philosophy 29, no. 1 (2021): 73-93. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopp.12218
Schmidt, Andreas T. “Should We Extend Voluntary Euthanasia to Non-medical Cases? Solidarity and the Social Context of Elderly Suffering.” Journal of Moral Philosophy Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1163/17455243-20192823
Schmidt, Andreas T. “Getting Real on Rationality – Behavioral Science, Nudging, and Public Policy.” Ethics 129, no. 4 (2019): 511-543. https://doi.org/10.1086/702970
Spears, Dean, and Mark Budolfson. “Repugnant Conclusions.” Social Choice and Welfare 57, no. 3 (2021): 567-588. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00355-021-01321-2
Thoma, Johanna. “On the Possibility of an Anti-Paternalist Behavioral Welfare Economics.” Journal of Economic Methodology Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350178X.2021.1972128
Wagner, Gernot, David Anthoff, Maureen Cropper, Simon Dietz, Kenneth T. Gillingham, Ben Groom, J. Paul Kelleher, Frances C. Moore, and James J. Stock. “Eight Priorities for Calculating the Social Cost of Carbon.” Nature 590 no. 7847 (2021): 548-550. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-00441-0
Voigt, Kristin. “Relational Equality and the Expressive Dimension of State Action.” Social Theory and Practice 44, no. 3 (2018): 437-467. https://doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract201853038
Douglas MacKay, Public Policy 71 Justice and Inequality, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Douglas MacKay, Public Policy 340 Justice in Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Douglas MacKay, Public Policy 780 Normative Dimensions of Policy Analysis and Research: Theories, Methods, and Ethical Foundations, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill