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The social welfare function and individual responsibility: Some theoretical issues and empirical evidence

  • Dolan, Paul
  • Tsuchiya, Aki

The literature on income distribution has attempted to evaluate different degrees of inequality using a social welfare function (SWF) approach. However, it has largely ignored the source of such inequalities, and has thus failed to consider different degrees of inequity. The literature on egalitarianism has addressed issues of equity, largely in relation to individual responsibility. This paper builds upon these two literatures, and introduces individual responsibility into the SWF. Results from a small-scale study of people's preferences in relation to the distribution of health benefits are presented to illustrate how the parameter values of a SWF might be determined.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 210-220

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:1:p:210-220
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  1. Erik Schokkaert & Kurt Devooght, 2003. "Responsibility-sensitive fair compensation in different cultures," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 207-242, October.
  2. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Dolan, Paul & Robinson, Angela, 2001. "The measurement of preferences over the distribution of benefits: The importance of the reference point," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1697-1709, October.
  4. Rebecca Shaw & Paul Dolan & Aki Tsuchiya & Alan Williams & Peter Smith & Roger Burrows, 2001. "Development of a questionnaire to elicit public preferences regarding health inequalities," Working Papers 040cheop, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  5. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  6. Culyer, A J, 1989. "The Normative Economics of Health Care Finance and Provision," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 34-58, Spring.
  7. Paul Dolan & Jan Abel Olsen & Paul Menzel & Jeff Richardson, 2003. "An inquiry into the different perspectives that can be used when eliciting preferences in health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(7), pages 545-551.
  8. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equality and responsibility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 683-689, April.
  9. Schweitzer, Maurice, 1995. "Multiple Reference Points, Framing, and the Status Quo Bias in Health Care Financing Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 69-72, July.
  10. Dolan, Paul, 1998. "The measurement of individual utility and social welfare," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 39-52, January.
  11. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equal Opportunity or Equal Social Outcome?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 25-55, April.
  12. Pedro Rosa Dias & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Giving equality of opportunity a fair innings," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 109-112.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521466967 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Olsen, Jan Abel, 1997. "Theories of justice and their implications for priority setting in health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 625-639, December.
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