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Do irrelevant commodities matter?

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Author Info

  • Marc Fleurbaey

    (CERSES - Centre de recherche sens, ethique, société - CNRS : UMR8137 - Université Paris Descartes)

  • Koichi Tadenuma

Abstract

We study how to evaluate allocations independently of individual preferences over unavailable commodities. We prove impossibility results suggesting that such evaluations encounter serious difficulties. This is related to the well-known problem of performing international comparisons of standard of living across countries with different consumption goods. We show how possibility results can be retrieved with restrictions on the domain of preferences, on the application of the independence axiom or on the set of allocations to be ranked. Such restrictions appear more plausible when the objects of evaluation are allocations of composite commodities, characteristics or human functionings rather than ordinary commodities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00246315.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Publication status: Published, Econometrica, 2007, 75, 1143–1174
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00246315

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00246315/en/
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Related research

Keywords: consumer preferences; social choice; independence of irrelevant alternatives; characteristics; functionings;

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References

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  1. Michel Le Breton & John A. Weymark, 2002. "Arrovian Social Choice Theory on Economic Domains," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0206, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Sep 2003.
  2. John Bone, 2003. "Simple Arrow-type propositions in the Edgeworth domain," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 41-48.
  3. Fleurbaey, Marc & Suzumura, Kotaro & Tadenuma, Koichi, 2002. "Arrovian Aggregation in Economic Environments: How Much Should We Know About Indifference Surfaces?," Discussion Papers 2002-10, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  4. Marc Fleurbaey, 2001. "The Pazner-Schmeidler Social Ordering: A Defense," Working Papers 328, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  5. LeBreton, M., 1994. "Arrovian Social Choice on Economic Domains," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 94a37, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  6. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328.
  7. Border, Kim C., 1983. "Social welfare functions for economic environments with and without the pareto principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 205-216, April.
  8. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 2000. "Fair Social Orderings With Unequal Production Skills," THEMA Working Papers 2000-17, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  9. Mayston, David J., 1982. "The generation of a social welfare function under ordinal preferences," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 109-129, September.
  10. Marc Fleurbaey & Kotaro Suzumura & Koichi Tadenuma, 2005. "The informational basis of the theory of fair allocation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 311-341, 04.
  11. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1988. "Social choice in economic environments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 291-308, December.
  12. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 2008. "Fair social orderings," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 25-45, January.
  13. Pazner, Elisha A & Schmeidler, David, 1978. "Egalitarian Equivalent Allocations: A New Concept of Economic Equity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 671-87, November.
  14. Bordes, Georges & Breton, Michel Le, 1989. "Arrovian theorems with private alternatives domains and selfish individuals," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 257-281, April.
  15. Redekop, James, 1991. "Social welfare functions on restricted economic domains," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 396-427, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Geoffroy de Clippel & Camelia Bejan, 2009. "No Profitable Decomposition in Quasi-Linear Allocation Problems," Working Papers 2009-6, Brown University, Department of Economics.

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