Externalities and Public Goods in the Talmud

Ephraim Kleiman

in The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195398625
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Externalities and Public Goods in the Talmud

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  • Econometrics and Mathematical Economics



Insofar as their literary heritage suggests the ancients did not, as a rule, indulge in explicit economic theorizing. This article examines the Talmudic Sages' views of the causes underlying the existence of externalities and of public goods and of the remedies offered for them, which also reveal the taxation principles to which they subscribed. The Talmud does not contain any explicit economic analysis in the modern sense of the word. But many of its rules pertain to economic phenomena and their formulation and discussion required some insight into economic relationships that went beyond the simply commonsensical one. This article also discusses negative externalities known as torts. This article further encapsulates the Talmud's view of Torts and Externalities. The civil law sections of the Talmud deal extensively with torts. Aspects such as sharing the burden of billeting are explained in details. This article also draws a comparison between the Talmuds and the Roman Laws.

Keywords: literary heritage; Talmud; Talmudic sages; torts; externalities; Roman laws

Article.  10368 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Econometrics and Mathematical Economics

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