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Does market coordination lead to justice or to strict efficiency in Social Choice and Individual Values?


  • Irène Berthonnet


  • Vincent Desreumaux



The paper tries to clarify the status of the market in Social Choice and Individual Values. It shows how Arrow at first intended to propose a third theorem of welfare economics (Feldman [1991]), which would show that the market achieves not only Pareto-optimality, but also equitable social allocations. The impossibility theorem proves this is impossible. Arrow’s solution to impossibility is interpreted here as a further limitation of the market’s objectives. At the end of the book, the market is presented as a technical mechanism that guarantees economic efficiency, if it doesn’t take individual values into consideration.

Suggested Citation

  • Irène Berthonnet & Vincent Desreumaux, 2014. "Does market coordination lead to justice or to strict efficiency in Social Choice and Individual Values?," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 66, pages 95-126.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2014:i:66:p:95-126

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    Impossibility theorem; welfare economics; values; social welfare function; economic efficiency.;

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


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