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

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References

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  7. 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.
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Blog mentions

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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. Patricio Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal, 2012. "Decisions with endogenous frames," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 585-600, April.
  2. Marc Fleurbaey & Erik Schokkaert, 2012. "Behavioral Fair Social Choice," Working Papers 2012-012, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  3. 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.
  4. Dalton, Patricio & Ghosal, Sayantan, 2008. "Behavioural Decisions and Welfare," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 834, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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