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The Conflict between Notions of Fairness and the Pareto Principle

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  • Kaplow, Louis
  • Shavell, Steven

Abstract

Most legal academics and policy makers believe that notions of fairness should be accorded positive weight in evaluating legal policies. We explain, however, that ascribing importance to any notion of fairness (other than one concerned solely with the distribution of income) will sometimes lead to a conflict with the Pareto principle. That is, to endorse a notion of fairness is to endorse the view that it can be desirable to adopt a legal rule that will reduce the well-being of every person in society. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 1 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (Fall)
Pages: 63-77

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Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:1:y:1999:i:1-2:p:63-77

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Cited by:
  1. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2004. "Deterrence vs Judicial Error: a Comparative View of Standards of Proof," Cahiers de recherche 0418, CIRPEE.
  2. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2003. "Fairness versus Welfare: Notes on the Pareto Principle, Preferences, and Distributive Justice," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 331-362, 01.
  3. Stefan Mann, 2007. "Comparing Interpersonal Comparisons in Utility Theory and Happiness Research," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 29-42, April.
  4. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Discounting Dollars, Discounting Lives: Intergenerational Distributive Justice and Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 12239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Zhijun Zhao, 2011. "Preference Relativity, Ambiguity and Social Welfare Evaluation," Working Papers 352011, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  6. Garoupa, Nuno & Stephen, Frank, 2003. "A Note on Optimal Law Enforcement with Legal Aid," CEPR Discussion Papers 4113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Dai, Chifeng, 2009. "The appeals process in principal-agent relationships," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 451-462, August.

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