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Behavioral Fair Social Choice

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  • Marc Fleurbaey

    ()
    (Princeton University)

  • Erik Schokkaert

    ()
    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and CORE)

Abstract

Behavioral economics has shaken the view that individuals have well-defined, consistent and stable preferences. This raises a challenge for welfare economics, which takes as a key postulate that individual preferences should be respected. This paper scrutinizes the challenge and argues, in agreement with Bernheim (2009) and Bernheim and Rangel (2009) that behavioral economics is compatible with consistency of partial preferences. While Bernheim and Rangel have focused on how to incorporate insights from behavioral economics into traditional concepts of welfare economics (Pareto optimality, compensation tests), we explore how the approach can be extended to deal with distributive issues. This paper revisits some key results of the theory in a framework with partial preferences and shows how one can derive partial orderings of individual and social situations.

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File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Fleurbaey_Schokkaert_2012_behavioral-fair-choice.pdf
File Function: First version, 4/1/2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2012-012.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2012-012

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Keywords: behavioral economics; preferences; welfare economics; psychology; social choice; fairness.;

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References

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  1. John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2008. "How are Preferences Revealed?," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2466, Yale School of Management.
  2. Koszegi, Botond & Rabin, Matthew, 2008. "Choices, situations, and happiness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1821-1832, August.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Dalton, Patricio; Ghosal, Sayantan, 2010. "Behavioural Decisions and Welfare," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 06, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  5. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Behavioral Welfare Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 267-319, 04-05.
  6. King, Mervyn A., 1983. "Welfare analysis of tax reforms using household data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 183-214, July.
  7. Willig, Robert D, 1981. "Social Welfare Dominance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 200-204, May.
  8. Marc Fleurbaey, 2009. "Beyond GDP: The Quest for a Measure of Social Welfare," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1029-75, December.
  9. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521715348.
  10. Amos Tversky & Itamar Simonson, 1993. "Context-Dependent Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1179-1189, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Marc Fleurbaey & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 243-263, October.
  13. FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik & DECANCQ, Koen, 2009. "What good is happiness?," CORE Discussion Papers 2009017, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Money metric utility: A harmless normalization?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 120-129, October.
  15. Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
  16. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
  17. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2007. "Beyond Revealed Preference Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," Discussion Papers 07-031, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  18. Bernt Christian Brun & Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Non-welfaristic theories of justice: Is “the intersection approach” a solution to the indexing impasse?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-60, 02.
  19. 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.
  20. Marc Fleurbaey, 2005. "Health, Wealth, and Fairness," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(2), pages 253-284, 05.
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Cited by:
  1. Pivato, Marcus, 2013. "Social welfare with incomplete ordinal interpersonal comparisons," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 405-417.

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