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Behavioral welfare economics

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  • B. Douglas Bernheim

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stanford University, USA)

Abstract

This paper discusses several competing proposals for general normative frameworks thatwould encompass non-standard models of choice. Most existing proposals equate welfare with wellbeing. Some assume that well-being flows from the achievement of well-defined objectives, and that those objectives also guide choices; the trick is to formulate a framework in which less-than-completely coherent choice patterns reveal the unobserved objectives. Others are predicated on the contention that well-being, and hence welfare, is directly measurable. Both of those approaches encounter serious conceptual difficulties. An alternative approach, developed by Bernheim and Rangel (2009), defines welfare directly in terms of choice. It entails a generalized welfare criterion that respects choice directly, without requiring any rationalization involving potentially unverifiable assumptions concerning underlying objectives and their relationships to choice. Because useful behavioral theories generally envision a substatial degree of underlying coherence in behavior, that criterion leads to a rich and tractable normative framework.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia in its journal Panoeconomicus.

Volume (Year): 57 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-22

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Handle: RePEc:voj:journl:v:57:y:2010:i:1:p:1-22

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Web page: http://www.panoeconomicus.rs/

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Keywords: The models of choice; Welfare; Preferences.;

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References

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  1. Dalton, Patricio & Ghosal, Sayantan, 2008. "Behavioural Decisions and Welfare," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 834, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  3. Jawwad Noor, 2005. "Temptation, Welfare and Revealed Preference," Microeconomics 0509009, EconWPA.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
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  7. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  8. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2004. "Addiction and Cue-Triggered Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1558-1590, December.
  9. Koszegi, Botond & Rabin, Matthew, 2008. "Choices, situations, and happiness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1821-1832, August.
  10. Gruber Jonathan H & Mullainathan Sendhil, 2005. "Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, July.
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  16. H. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley Macleod, 2006. "Welfare Economics with Intransitive Revealed Preferences: A Theory of the Endowment Effect," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(2), pages 193-218, 05.
  17. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  18. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2008. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 13737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Per Krusell & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2000. "Temptation and Taxation," GSIA Working Papers 2001-12, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
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  21. Asheim, Geir B., 2007. "Procrastination, partial naivete, and behavioral welfare analysis," Memorandum 02/2007, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  22. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104, February.
  23. Suzumura, Kataro, 1976. "Remarks on the Theory of Collective Choice," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(172), pages 381-90, November.
  24. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  25. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
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  28. Robert Sugden, 2004. "The Opportunity Criterion: Consumer Sovereignty Without the Assumption of Coherent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1033, September.
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  1. JEEA - New Issue
    by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-05-22 14:49:00
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Cited by:
  1. Dalton, Patricio & Ghosal, Sayantan, 2008. "Behavioural Decisions and Welfare," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 834, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Patricio Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal, 2012. "Decisions with endogenous frames," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 585-600, April.
  3. Agee, Mark D. & Crocker, Thomas D., 2013. "Operationalizing the capability approach to assessing well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 80-86.
  4. Cameron Hepburn & Stephen Duncan & Antonis Papachristodoulou, 2010. "Behavioural Economics, Hyperbolic Discounting and Environmental Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 189-206, June.
  5. FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik, 2011. "Behavioral fair social choice," CORE Discussion Papers 2011043, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Fabrizio Adriani & Silvia Sonderegger, . "Evolution of similarity judgements in intertemporal choice," Discussion Papers 2014-06, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

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