Dworkin on Choice

Your note taker was indisposed today. Had he been on his feet, he would have summarized the article under discussion like this.

Gerald Dworkin (not Ronald) challenges the assumption that it is necessarily better to have more choices rather than less. That assumption seems to make sense: you don’t have to take the additional option, it’s there only if you want it. So if you don’t want it, you can’t be worse off. And if you do want it, you’ll be better off. Nonetheless, according to Dworkin, the assumption is false.

I trust you had a bang up discussion. The last time we did this Prof. Brown went over how the sorts of cases that Dworkin discusses are either represented in economics or challenge standard economic analysis. In other words, she made us think about how economists analyze these cases which I, for one, found to be very hard and very rewarding.


Dworkin, Gerald. 1988. “Is More Choice Better Than Less?” In The Theory and Practice of Autonomy, 62–81. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.