a branch of economics concerned with improving human welfare and social conditions chiefly through the optimum distribution of wealth, the relief or reduction of unemployment, etc.
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noun (functioning as singular)
the aspects of economic theory concerned with the welfare of society and priorities to be observed in the allocation of resources
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012