Just Results

cover art
224 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406678 (0878406670)

February 1998
LC: 97-37199



Just Results
Ethical Foundations for Policy Analysis
Ralph D. Ellis

In Just Results, Ralph E. Ellis provides an authoritative solution to one of the major problems in the field of public policy. Until now, analysts and planners have had no practical or accurate means of incorporating qualitative social concerns into the traditional quantitative formulas used in policymaking. By introducing a justice factor—a quantitative measure for social values—Ellis opens the door for more balanced policy decisions.

Using concrete, real-world examples, Ellis shows how policy analysts can better account for the use value—or practical measurable utility—of universally agreed-upon social benefits such as life, health, safety, and environmental preservation when making cost-benefit analyses. In this way, policymakers, and by extension, society as a whole, can avoid making unjust tradeoffs between important social values and comparatively frivolous economic benefits.

Drawing on philosophical works on justice from Kant through John Rawls, this book is informed by a theoretical defense of distributive justice that emphasizes diminishing marginal utility, thus favoring the poor. Just Results is a stimulating and highly applicable book that will be of great interest to philosophers, political scientists, policy analysts and planners.

"In this creative and ambitious study, Ellis seeks to reconcile the considerations of justice . . . and utility. . . . This is a vigorously transdisciplinary work that speaks to specialists in a range of fields, including applied ethics, moral and political philosophy, risk analysis, and legal history."—Religious Studies Review

"A rare combination of theory and practice that expands the assumptions and methodology of policy analysis while it moves the debate over consequentialist ethics beyond utility and market preferences to a new level of sophistication. A truly elegant policy argument that should be required reading for students, scholars, and practitioners alike."—John Martin Gillroy, MacArthur Professor of Environmental Studies, Bucknell University