Ezra J. Mishan (1917–2014)

  • Euston QuahEmail author
  • Yew-Kwang Ng


Quah and Ng first discuss Ezra Mishan’s contributions to cost–benefit analysis, focusing on the appropriate set of individuals to be included, unconventional spillover effects such as ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, and the value of a statistical life. They then provide some qualifications to Mishan’s arguments questioning globalisation and immigration, concentrating on three commonly ignored benefits of a larger population. An increase in population, including as a result of immigration, need not reduce the per capita income due to the presence of increasing returns. Even if per capita income is reduced, existing citizens still gain economically through higher returns of factors complementary to the immigrating labour. Additionally, a larger population reduces the per capita costs of providing public goods, like defence and research.


Mishan Cost–benefit analysis Spillover effects Value of life Globalisation Immigration Population 


Main Works by Ezra J. Mishan

  1. Mishan, E.J. (1967). The Costs of Economic Growth. London: Staples Press. Revised edition, 1993, Weidenfeld & Nicolson.Google Scholar
  2. Mishan, E.J. (1971). ‘Evaluation of Life and Limb: A Theoretical Approach’. Journal of Political Economy, 79(4): 687–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Mishan, E.J. (1972). Elements of Cost-Benefit Analysis. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  4. Mishan, E.J. (1980). ‘The New Welfare Economics: An Alternative View’. International Economic Review, 21(3): 691–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Mishan, E.J. (2005). ‘Can Globalisation Depress Living Standards in the West?’. Economic Affairs, 25(3): 66–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Mishan, E.J. (2006). ‘A Rejoinder to John Meadowcroft’. Economic Affairs, 26(1): 68–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mishan, E.J. (2009). Thirteen Persistent Economic Fallacies. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  8. Mishan, E.J. and E. Quah (2007). Cost-Benefit Analysis. Fifth edition. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Other Works Referred To

  1. Biausque, V. (2012). The Value of Statistical Life: A Meta-Analysis. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  2. Clarke, H.R. and N. Yew-Kwang (1993). ‘Immigration and Economic Welfare: Resource and Environmental Aspects’. Economic Record, 69(3): 259–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Drèze, J. (1962). ‘L’Utilité Sociale d’une Vie Humaine’. Revue Française de Recherche Opérationelle, 23: 93–118.Google Scholar
  4. Gamsakhurdia, T. (2013). ‘The Main Aspects of Evaluating Government Projects and Programmes by Using the Cost-Benefit Analysis’. European Scientific Journal, 2(Special Edition): 241–245.Google Scholar
  5. Giles, R.P. (2016). Economic Wealth Creation and the Social Division of Labour: Institutions, Trust and Networks. Belfast: Queen’s Management School, QUB.Google Scholar
  6. Greene, W. (1971). ‘The Luddites Were Not All Wrong’. The New York Times, 21 November. Available at:
  7. Meadowcroft, J. (2006). ‘Free Trade, “Pauper Labour” and Prosperity: A Reply to Professor Mishan’. Economic Affairs, 6(1): 65–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ng, Y.-K. (1984). ‘Quasi-Pareto Social Improvements’. American Economic Review, 74(5): 1033–1050.Google Scholar
  9. Ng, Y.-K. (2003). ‘From Preference to Happiness: Towards a More Complete Welfare Economics’. Social Choice and Welfare, 20(2): 307–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ng, Y.-K. (2015). ‘Welfare Economics’. In J.D. Wright (editor-in-chief) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Volume 25. Second edition. Oxford: Elsevier: 497–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ng, Y.-K. (2016). ‘Welfare-Reducing Growth and Cost-Benefit Analysis: Essay in Memory of E.J. Mishan’. Singapore Economic Review, 61(3): 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Papadakis, E. (1998). Historical Dictionary of the Green Movement. London: Scarecrow Press.Google Scholar
  13. Quah, E. (2016). ‘Editor’s Comments on Special Issue in Honor and Memory of Professor Ezra J. Mishan’. Singapore Economic Review, 61(3): 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Quah, E. and K.C. Tan (1998). ‘The Siting Problem of NIMBY Facilities: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Auction Mechanisms’. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 16(3): 255–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Quah, E. and K.C. Tan (2002). Siting Environmentally Unwanted Facilities: Risks, Trade-Offs and Choices. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  16. Quah, E. and J. Yong (2008). ‘An Assessment of Four Popular Auction Mechanisms in the Siting of NIMBY Facilities: Some Experimental Evidence’. Applied Economics, 40(7): 841–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sinclair, P. (2016). ‘Ezra Mishan, Contrarian and Sage: An Appreciation’. Singapore Economic Review, 61(3): 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Yang, X. and Y.-K. Ng (1993). Specialization and Economic Organization. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Economics, School of Social SciencesNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Division of Economics, School of Social SciencesNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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