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Stephen Martin

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Viktor J. Vanberg

This important research review discusses some of the most celebrated and classical literature in the field of choice and economic welfare. It analyses material exploring how economics as a scientific enterprise may inform political decision-making. A premise that is explored paradigmatically through different interpretations including utility-individualism in the context of welfare economics, preference-individualism in social choice theory, and choice-individualism in constitutional economics. The review covers the subject’s founding literature as well as the more contemporary pieces, which have sparked further discussion in the field. This review promises to be valuable to researchers and scholars alike as well as to those gravitating towards this fascinating topic.
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Stephen Martin

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Stephen Martin

The powerful theorems of welfare economics operate under a range of assumptions. Two of the most significant are the existence of competitive markets for all goods and services – including futures markets – and the unbounded rationality of all economic agents who act independently to maximize payoffs. In the contributions discussed in this research review, economists come to grips with the consequences of markets falling short of assumptions, as well as the response of institutions to observed market characteristics. This comprehensive study will be of interest to economists and policymakers who wish to understand the strengths and limitations of the market mechanism of resource allocation.
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Stephen Martin

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Rachel Adams and Nóra Ní Loideáin

Virtual personal assistants (VPAs) are increasingly becoming a common aspect of everyday living. However, with female names, voices and characters, these devices appear to reproduce harmful gender stereotypes about the role of women in society and the type of work women perform. Designed to ‘assist’, VPAs – such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa – reproduce and reify the idea that women are subordinate to men, and exist to be ‘used’ by men. Despite their ubiquity, these aspects of their design have seen little critical attention in scholarship, and the potential legal responses to this issue have yet to be fully canvassed. Accordingly, this article sets out to critique the reproduction of negative gender stereotypes in VPAs and explores the provisions and findings within international women's rights law to assess both how this constitutes indirect discrimination and possible means for redress. In this regard, this article explores the obligation to protect women from discrimination at the hands of private actors under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the work of the Committee on Discrimination Against Women on gender stereotyping. With regard to corporate human rights responsibilities, the role of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is examined, as well as domestic enforcement mechanisms for international human rights norms and standards, noting the limitations to date in enforcing human rights compliance by multinational private actors.