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Economic Efficiency versus Egalitarian Rights


  • Ng, Yew-Kwang


The domain of rights is full of infringements of efficiency. Apart from practical difficulties, ignorance, irrationality, and preference for inefficient procedures, are there considerations justifying such infringements? Egalitarianism does not provide a valid justification ; the argument for "a dollar is a dollar" shows that equality is be tter pursued by income taxation, even taking account of disincentive effects and second-best complications. This argument is generalized t o cover noneconomic issues. A survey of people's view of fairness sho ws that objection to efficiency is usually based on inadequate unders tanding of economics. Improvements in the effectiveness of income tax ation and in public understanding of economics justify an explanation in the economic domain where efficiency dominates. Copyright 1988 by WWZ and Helbing & Lichtenhahn Verlag AG

Suggested Citation

  • Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1988. "Economic Efficiency versus Egalitarian Rights," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 215-237.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:41:y:1988:i:2:p:215-37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Konow, James, 1996. "A positive theory of economic fairness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-35, October.
    2. Suttner, Johannes R., 2014. "Sensitivity of economists during market allocation," CIW Discussion Papers 3/2014, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    3. Dolan, Paul & Edlin, Richard & Tsuchiya, Aki & Wailoo, Allan, 2007. "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it: Characteristics of procedural justice and their importance in social decision-making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 157-170, September.
    4. Zigante, Valentina, 2011. "Assessing welfare effects of the European Choice Agenda: the case of health care in the United Kingdom," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53449, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Orbach, Barak Y. & Einav, Liran, 2007. "Uniform prices for differentiated goods: The case of the movie-theater industry," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 129-153.
    6. Valentina Zigante, 2011. "Assessing Welfare Effects of the European Choice Agenda: The case of health care in the United Kingdom," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 35, European Institute, LSE.
    7. Wailoo, Allan & Anand, Paul, 2005. "The nature of procedural preferences for health-care rationing decisions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 223-236, January.
    8. Yew-Kwang Ng, 1996. "Happiness surveys: Some comparability issues and an exploratory survey based on just perceivable increments," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 1-27, May.

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