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Interpersonal Comparisons of Well-Being

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  • BLACKORBY, Charles
  • BOSSERT, Walter

Abstract

This paper, which is to be published as a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, provides an introduction to social-choice theory with interpersonal comparisons of well-being. We argue that the most promising route of escape from the negative conclusion of Arrow’s theorem is to use a richer informational environment than ordinal measurability and the absence of interpersonal comparability of well-being. We discuss welfarist social evaluation (which requires that the levels of individual well-being in two alternatives are the only determinants of their social ranking) and present characterizations of some important social-evaluation orderings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 06-2004.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:06-2004

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Keywords: Arrow’s theorem; social choice with interpersonal utility comparisons; welfarism;

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References

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  1. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A, 1984. "Social Choice with Interpersonal Utility Comparisons: A Diagrammatic Introduction," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(2), pages 327-56, June.
  2. Deschamps, Robert & Gevers, Louis, 1978. "Leximin and utilitarian rules: A joint characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 143-163, April.
  3. Roberts, Kevin W S, 1980. "Possibility Theorems with Interpersonally Comparable Welfare Levels," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 409-20, January.
  4. Pollak, Robert A, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 401-14, October.
  5. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 14-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  6. Blackorby,Charles & Bossert,Walter & Donaldson,David J., 2005. "Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521825511.
  7. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson, 2005. "Multi-profile welfarism: A generalization," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 253-267, 04.
  8. Sen, Amartya, 1974. "Informational bases of alternative welfare approaches : Aggregation and income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 387-403, November.
  9. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1999. "Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem for state-contingent alternatives1," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 365-387, November.
  10. Mongin, P., . "Harsanyi's aggregation theorem: multi-profile version and unsettled questions," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1153, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Charles Blackorby & David Donaldson & Philippe Mongin, 2004. "Social Aggregation Without the Expected Utility Hypothesis," Working Papers hal-00242932, HAL.
  12. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1992. "Pigs and Guinea Pigs: A Note on the Ethics of Animal Exploitation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1345-69, November.
  13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
  14. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Equity in Two Person Situations: Some Consequences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1127-35, September.
  15. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. "Utilitarianism and the theory of justice," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 543-596 Elsevier.
  16. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1982. "Ratio-Scale and Translation-Scale Full Interpersonal Comparability without Domain Restrictions: Admissible Social-Evaluation Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(2), pages 249-68, June.
  17. Gevers, Louis, 1979. "On Interpersonal Comparability and Social Welfare Orderings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 75-89, January.
  18. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  19. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  20. Sen, Amartya K, 1979. "Personal Utilities and Public Judgements: Or What's Wrong with Welfare Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(355), pages 537-58, September.
  21. Roberts, Kevin W S, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 421-39, January.
  22. Maskin, Eric, 1978. "A Theorem on Utilitarianism," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 93-96, February.
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Blog mentions

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  1. Beautiful women and economics
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2006-10-13 09:13:02
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Cited by:
  1. Joachim Merz & Thesia Garner & Timothy M. Smeeding & Jürgen Faik & David Johnson, 1994. "Two Scales, One Methodology - Expenditure Based Equivalence Scales for the United States and Germany," FFB-Discussionpaper 08, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
  2. Vincenzo Atella & Jay Coggins & Federico Perali, 2005. "Aversion to inequality in Italy and its determinants," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 117-144, January.
  3. Carlos Arias & Vincenzo Atella & Raffaella Castagnini & Federico Perali, 2003. "Estimation of the Sharing Rule between Adults and Children and Related Equivalence Scales within a Collective Consumption Framework," CHILD Working Papers wp07_03, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  4. Wiebke Kuklys, 2004. "A Monetary Approach to Capability Measurement of the Disabled - Evidence from the UK," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-08, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  5. Vincenzo Atella & Martina Menon & Federico Perali, 2003. "Estimation of Unit Values in Cross Sections without Quantity Information and Implications for Demand and Welfare Analysis," CEIS Research Paper 12, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  6. Sunil Kumar & Renuka Mahadevan, 2008. "Construction of An Adult Equivalence Index to Measure Intra-household Inequality and Poverty: Case Study," Discussion Papers Series 363, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  7. Gordon Anderson, 2003. "Poverty in America 1970-1990: who did gain ground? An application of stochastic dominance criteria employing simultaneous inequality tests in a partial panel," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(6), pages 621-640.
  8. F. Pedrali, 2002. "Can PIGLOG Preferences Identify Equivalence Scales ?," THEMA Working Papers 2002-03, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  9. Kuntal Banerjee, 2006. "On the Extension of the Utilitarian and Suppes–Sen Social Welfare Relations to Infinite Utility Streams," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 327-339, October.

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