Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Mause I 171
Merit Good/Interventionism/Paternalism/Musgrave, Richard: the theory of merit goods is a theory of market failure that deviates from the standard theory. It represents a legitimation of stately interventions. (1) (See also Interventions/Economic Theories).
Central to this theory is that the merit needs, by their very nature, represent "state interference in consumer preferences". (2)
IndividualismVs: an "extremely individualistic point of view
[would have to] exclude coverage of all merit needs." (3)
State intervention: enforces a level of consumption above (or below) that would result from market processes with sole application of the individual preferences of the economic subjects. (4)
Def Merit Good: Merit goods are those for which government decision-makers consider it desirable that consumers consume more than with pure market allocation; e.g. subsidies for museum visits or opera performances. Demerit goods, on the other hand, are consumed more than is politically desirable in pure market allocation; their consumption is therefore to be restricted, e.g. tobacco.


1,R. A. Musgrave, 57. A multiple theory of budget determination. Finanzarchiv 17, (3) 1956 333– 343.
2.R. A. Musgrave, Finanztheorie. Tübingen 1974, S. 15
3.Ebenda
4. Tietzel, Manfred, und Christian Müller., Noch mehr zur Meritorik. Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften 118, (1) 1998, S. 87– 127.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconMusg I
Richard A. Musgrave
The Theory of Public Finance: A Study in Public Economy, New York 1959
German Edition:
Finanztheorie Tübingen 1974

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-07-18
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