IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/sochwe/v25y2005i2p381-418.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The news of the death of welfare economics is greatly exaggerated

Author

Listed:
  • Marc Fleurbaey

    ()

  • Philippe Mongin

    ()

Abstract

The paper reexamines the controversy about Bergson-Samuelson social welfare functions (BSF) that took place between welfare economists and social choice theorists as a consequence of Arrow's impossibility theorem. The 1970's witnessed a new version of the theorem that was meant to establish that BSF "make interpersonal comparisons of utility or are dictatorial''. Against this, Samuelson reasserted the existence of well-behaved "ordinalist'' BSF and generally denied the relevance of Arrovian impossibilities to welfare economics. The paper formalizes and reassesses each camp's arguments. While being also critical of Samuelson's, it eventually endorses his conclusion that welfare economics was left untouched by the controversy. It draws some connections of BSF with contemporary normative economics.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Fleurbaey & Philippe Mongin, 2005. "The news of the death of welfare economics is greatly exaggerated," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 25(2), pages 381-418, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:25:y:2005:i:2:p:381-418 DOI: 10.1007/s00355-005-0010-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00355-005-0010-1
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mongin, P., 1998. "Does Optimization Imply Rationality?," Papers 9817, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
    2. Nicolas Gravel, 2001. "On the difficulty of combining actual and potential criteria for an increase in social welfare," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 17(1), pages 163-180.
    3. Atkinson, Anthony B, 2001. "The Strange Disappearance of Welfare Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 193-206.
    4. Georges Bordes & Peter J. Hammond & Michel Le Breton, 2005. "Social Welfare Functionals on Restricted Domains and in Economic Environments," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(1), pages 1-25, February.
    5. I. M. D. Little, 1952. "Social Choice and Individual Values," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 422-422.
    6. Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Social Choice Theory: The Single-profile and Multi-profile Approaches," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 441-450.
    7. Suzumura, Kotaro, 1999. "Paretian Welfare Judgements and Bergsonian Social Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 204-220, April.
    8. Kemp, Murray C. & Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1983. "Individualistic social welfare functions under ordinalism: a reply to Mayston," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 305-307, July.
    9. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A, 1984. "Social Choice with Interpersonal Utility Comparisons: A Diagrammatic Introduction," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(2), pages 327-356, June.
    10. Marc Fleurbaey, 2003. "On the informational basis of social choice," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 21(2), pages 347-384, October.
    11. Mongin, P., 1999. "Normes et jugements de valeur en economie normative," Papers 99-20, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
    12. Mayston, David J., 1982. "The generation of a social welfare function under ordinal preferences," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 109-129, September.
    13. Robert A. Pollak, 1979. "Bergson-Samuelson Social Welfare Functions and the Theory of Social Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(1), pages 73-90.
    14. Marc Fleurbaey & François Maniquet, 2007. "Help the Low Skilled or Let the Hardworking Thrive? A Study of Fairness in Optimal Income Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(3), pages 467-500, June.
    15. Weymark, John A., 1998. "Welfarism on economic domains1," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 251-268, December.
    16. 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.
    17. Amartya K. Sen, 1971. "Choice Functions and Revealed Preference," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 307-317.
    18. Little, I. M. D., 1999. "Collection and Recollections: Economic Papers and their Provenance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198295242.
    19. Robert P. Parks, 1976. "An Impossibility Theorem for Fixed Preferences: A Dictatorial Bergson-Samuelson Welfare Function," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 447-450.
    20. Marc Fleurbaey & François Maniquet, 2006. "Fair Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, pages 55-83.
    21. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 2008. "Fair social orderings," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 25-45.
    22. Kemp, Murray C & Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1977. "More on Social Welfare Functions: The Incompatibility of Individualism and Ordinalism," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(173), pages 89-90, February.
    23. Elisha A. Pazner & David Schmeidler, 1978. "Egalitarian Equivalent Allocations: A New Concept of Economic Equity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 671-687.
    24. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-1572, October.
    25. Kemp, Murray C. & Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1982. "The incompatibility of individualism and ordinalism," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 33-37, July.
    26. Philippe Mongin, 2002. "Is there progress in normative economics?," Chapters,in: Is There Progress in Economics?, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    27. Suzumura, Kotaro, 2001. "Pareto principles from Inch to Ell," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 95-98, January.
    28. Stephan Boehm & Christian Gehrke & Heinz D. Kurz & Richard Sturn (ed.), 2002. "Is There Progress in Economics?," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2403, April.
    29. Marc Fleurbaey & Maurice Salles & John Weymark, 2008. "Justice, Political Liberalism and Utilitarianism," Post-Print hal-00246415, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ngoie, Ruffin-Benoit M., 2012. "Choix social et partage équitable : Une analyse mathématique a posteriori des élections législatives et présidentielles de 2006 et 2011 en RDC
      [Social choice and fair sharing: An a posteriori mathe
      ," MPRA Paper 64915, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Mongin, P., 1999. "Normes et jugements de valeur en economie normative," Papers 99-20, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
    3. Antoinette Baujard, 2013. "Welfare economics," Working Papers 1333, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    4. Gotoh, Reiko & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2013. "Securing Basic Well-being for All," CCES Discussion Paper Series 48, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. DECANCQ, Koen & FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik, "undated". "Inequality, income and well-being," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2694, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    6. Marc Fleurbaey, 2007. "Social choice and the indexing dilemma," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 29(4), pages 633-648, December.
    7. Philippe Mongin, 2012. "The doctrinal paradox, the discursive dilemma, and logical aggregation theory," Theory and Decision, Springer, pages 315-355.
    8. Fabien Candau & Marc Fleurbaey, 2011. "Agglomeration and Welfare with Heterogeneous Preferences," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 685-708, September.
    9. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2014. "The Liberal Ethics of Non-Interference and the Pareto Principle," SIRE Discussion Papers 2014-016, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    10. Philippe Mongin, 2012. "The doctrinal paradox, the discursive dilemma, and logical aggregation theory," Theory and Decision, Springer, pages 315-355.
    11. Stéphane Zuber, 2011. "The aggregation of preferences: can we ignore the past?," Theory and Decision, Springer, pages 367-384.
    12. John A. Weymark, 2005. "On Kolm's Use of Epistemic Counterfactuals in Social Choice Theory," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0518, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    13. Allan M Feldman & Roberto Serrano, 2008. "Arrow's Impossibility Theorem: Preference Diversity in a Single-Profile World," Working Papers 2008-8, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    14. Allan M. Feldman & Roberto Serrano, 2007. "Arrow's impossibility theorem: Two simple single-profile versions," Working Papers 2007-07, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
    15. Maurice Salles, 2014. "‘Social choice and welfare’ at 30: its role in the development of social choice theory and welfare economics," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(1), pages 1-16, January.
    16. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2007. "Two criteria for social decisions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 421-447, May.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:25:y:2005:i:2:p:381-418. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.