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Welfare-domination under preference-replacement: A survey and open questions


  • William Thomson

    () (Department of Economics, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA)


The objective of this paper is to describe various applications of a requirement of solidarity pertaining to situations in which the preferences of some of the agents may change. It says that the welfares of all agents whose preferences are fixed should be affected in the same direction: they should all weakly gain, or they should all weakly lose. We show how this condition, which we name "welfare-domination under preference-replacement", can help in evaluating allocation rules. We discuss it in several contexts: private good allocation in classical economies, public good decision, binary choice with quasi-linear preferences, economies with indivisible goods, economies with single-peaked preferences, both in the private good case and in the public good case, and economies with time. For some of these models the implications of the property are well understood. For others, we state a number of open problems.

Suggested Citation

  • William Thomson, 1999. "Welfare-domination under preference-replacement: A survey and open questions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 16(3), pages 373-394.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:16:y:1999:i:3:p:373-394
    Note: Received: 2 January 1997/Accepted: 26 February 1998

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Atkinson, Anthony B, 2001. "The Strange Disappearance of Welfare Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 193-206.
    2. I. M. D. Little, 1952. "Social Choice and Individual Values," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 422-422.
    3. Sen, Amartya, 1992. "Minimal Liberty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(234), pages 139-159, May.
    4. Kemp, Murray C & Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1976. "On the Existence of Social Welfare Functions, Social Orderings and Social Decision Functions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(169), pages 59-66, February.
    5. Cohen, Jon S. & Weitzman, Martin L., 1975. "A Marxian model of enclosures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 287-336, November.
    6. Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
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