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Characterizations of Consequentialism and Nonconsequentialism


  • Suzumura, Kotaro
  • Xu, Yongsheng


By allowing for the possibility that individuals recognize the intrinsic value of choice along with the instrumental value thereof, we suppose that individuals express extended preference orderings of the following type: Choosing an outcome x from an opportunity set A is better than choosing an outcome y from an opportunity set B. Within this framework, we identify a consequentialist and a non-consequentialist, who show contrasting attitudes toward outcomes vis-a-vis opportunities. The task of this paper is to characterize these attitudes in terms of some axioms. The companion paper explores the implications of these concepts in the context of social choice.
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Suggested Citation

  • Suzumura, Kotaro & Xu, Yongsheng, 2001. "Characterizations of Consequentialism and Nonconsequentialism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 423-436, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:101:y:2001:i:2:p:423-436

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pattanaik, Prasanta K & Suzumura, Kotaro, 1996. "Individual Rights and Social Evaluation: A Conceptual Framework," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 194-212, April.
    2. Pattanaik, Prasanta K. & Xu, Yongsheng, 2000. "On diversity and freedom of choice," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 123-130, September.
    3. Gravel, Nicolas, 1994. "Can a Ranking of Opportunity Sets Attach an Intrinsic Importance to Freedom of Choice?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 454-458, May.
    4. Nicolas Gravel, 1998. "Ranking opportunity sets on the basis of their freedom of choice and their ability to satisfy preferences: A difficulty," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 15(3), pages 371-382.
    5. Amartya Sen, 1997. "Maximization and the Act of Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 745-780, July.
    6. Pattanaik, Prasanta K & Suzumura, Kotaro, 1994. "Rights, Welfarism, and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 435-439, May.
    7. 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 537-558, September.
    8. Bossert Walter & Pattanaik Prasanta K. & Xu Yongsheng, 1994. "Ranking Opportunity Sets: An Axiomatic Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 326-345, August.
    9. Sen, Amartya, 1993. "Markets and Freedoms: Achievements and Limitations of the Market Mechanism in Promoting Individual Freedoms," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(4), pages 519-541, October.
    10. Sen, Amartya, 1988. "Freedom of choice : Concept and content," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 269-294, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Suzumura, Kotaro & Xu, Yongsheng, 2003. "Consequences, opportunities, and generalized consequentialism and non-consequentialism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 293-304, August.
    2. Anand, Paul & Dolan, Paul, 2005. "Equity, capabilities and health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 219-222, January.
    3. Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2012. "Are most people consequentialists?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 225-228.
    4. Antoine Beretti & Charles Figuières & Gilles Grolleau, 2014. "An Instrument that Could Turn Crowding-out into Crowding-in," Working Papers 2014.04, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    5. Yukinori Iwata, 2009. "Consequences, opportunities, and Arrovian impossibility theorems with consequentialist domains," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(3), pages 513-531, March.
    6. Bhattacharyya, Aditi & Pattanaik, Prasanta K. & Xu, Yongsheng, 2011. "Choice, Internal Consistency And Rationality," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(02), pages 123-149, July.
    7. Lombardi, Michele & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2013. "Natural implementation with partially honest agents in economic environments," MPRA Paper 48294, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Susumu Cato, 2014. "Common preference, non-consequential features, and collective decision making," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 18(4), pages 265-287, December.
    9. Walter Bossert & Marc Fleurbaey, 2015. "An Interview with Kotaro Suzumura," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(1), pages 179-208, January.
    10. Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2013. "Reason-Based Rationalization," MPRA Paper 51776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. repec:cep:stitep:/2014/565 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Juan Perote Peña, 2003. "Ethical Implementation and the Creation of Moral Values," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2003/25, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    13. Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2016. "Mentalism Versus Behaviourism In Economics: A Philosophy-Of-Science Perspective," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 249-281, July.
    14. Lombardi, Michele & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2012. "Natural Implementation with Partially Honest Agents," Discussion Paper Series 561, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    15. Ross A. Tippit, 2014. "Modeling exogenous moral norms," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 8(1), November.
    16. Yukinori Iwata, 2014. "On the informational basis of social choice with the evaluation of opportunity sets," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 153-172, June.
    17. Lombardi Michele & Yoshihara Naoki, 2012. "National implementation with partially honest agents," Research Memorandum 005, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


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