Welfare Economics

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DEFINITION of 'Welfare Economics'

A branch of economics that focuses on the optimal allocation of resources and goods and how this affects social welfare. Welfare economics analyzes the total good or welfare that is achieve at a current state as well as how it is distributed. This relates to the study of income distribution and how it affects the common good.

Welfare economics is a subjective study that may assign units of welfare or utility in order to create models that measure the improvements to individuals based on their personal scales.

BREAKING DOWN 'Welfare Economics'

Welfare economics uses the perspective and techniques of microeconomics, but they can be aggregated to make macroeconomic conclusions. Because different "optimal" states may exist in an economy in terms of the allocation of resources, welfare economics seeks the state that will create the highest overall level of social welfare.

Some people object to the idea of wealth redistribution because it flies in the face of pure capitalist ideals, but economists suggest that greater states of overall social good might be achieved by redistributing incomes in the economy.

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