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Individual judgments and social choice in Sen's idea of justice and democracy

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Author Info

  • Muriel Gilardone

    (Normandie Université, UCBN, CREM (UMR CNRS 6211), France)

  • Antoinette Baujard

    (Université de Lyon, UJM, GATE L-SE (UMR CNRS 5824), France)

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to propose a conceptual reconstruction of Sen’s conception of individual judgments, through a back-and-forth analysis between his democratic theory of justice and social choice theory. Firstly, while this is never explicitly presented in Sen’s work, we highlight the importance of the three following elements in the characterization of judgments: position, objectivity and the sense of otherness. Once combined, these three conditions are necessary in order to characterize positional judgments, which, unlike individual preferences, are relevant for justice issues. Secondly, we identify two forces which, in Sen’s view, drive the evolution of such judgments: a widened informational basis and sentiments. This leads us to conclude that a relevant approach to communication, i.e., one which acknowledges the scope of positional judgments and the forces at the source of their evolution, is a third condition for a fruitful transformation of judgments. This last point constitutes, according to us, a missing element in Sen’s idea of justice.

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Paper provided by Condorcet Center for political Economy in its series Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS with number 2013-03-ccr.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:tut:cccrwp:2013-03-ccr

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Keywords: Social choice theory; positional objectivity; democracy; individual judgments; justice;

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References

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  1. Sen, Amartya K, 1973. "Behaviour and the Concept of Preference," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 40(159), pages 241-59, August.
  2. Antoinette Baujard, 2013. "Value judgments and economics expertise," Working Papers halshs-00803552, HAL.
  3. Muriel Gilardone, 2011. "Rawls’ influence and counter-influence on Sen: post-welfarism and impartiality," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201104, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  4. Antoinette Baujard, 2009. "A return to Bentham's felicific calculus: From moral welfarism to technical non-welfarism," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 431-453.
  5. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "Social Choice Theory: A Re-examination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 53-89, January.
  6. Rawls, John, 1974. "Some Reasons for the Maximin Criterion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 141-46, May.
  7. Muriel Gilardone, 2009. "Inégalités De Genre Et Approche Par Les Capabilités : Quelle Mise En Dialogue Chez Sen ?," Revue Tiers-Monde, Armand Colin, vol. 0(2), pages 357-371.
  8. Prasanta Pattanaik, 2005. "Little and Bergson on Arrow's concept of social welfare," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 369-379, December.
  9. Perote-Pena, Juan & Piggins, Ashley, 2012. "A model of deliberative and aggregative democracy," MPRA Paper 48914, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Antoinette Baujard, 2010. "Collective interest versus individual interest in Bentham's felicific calculus. Questioning welfarism and fairness," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 607-634.
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