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Utilitarian Aggregation of Beliefs and Tastes


  • Itzhak Gilboa
  • Dov Samet
  • David Schmeidler


Several authors have indicated a contradiction between consistent aggregation of subjective beliefs and tastes, and a Pareto condition. We argue that the Pareto condition that implies the contradiction is not compelling. Society should not necessarily endorse a unanimous choice when it is based on contradictory beliefs. Restricting the Pareto condition to choices that only involve identical beliefs allows a utilitarian aggregation: both society's utility function and its probability measure are linear combinations of those of the individuals.
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Suggested Citation

  • Itzhak Gilboa & Dov Samet & David Schmeidler, 2004. "Utilitarian Aggregation of Beliefs and Tastes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 932-938, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:4:p:932-938

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. De Meyer, Bernard & Mongin, Philippe, 1995. "A note on affine aggregation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 177-183, February.
    2. Mongin, Philippe, 1998. "The paradox of the Bayesian experts and state-dependent utility theory," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 331-361, April.
    3. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    4. Mongin Philippe, 1995. "Consistent Bayesian Aggregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 313-351, August.
    5. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1979. "The Impossibility of Bayesian Group Decision Making with Separate Aggregation of Beliefs and Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(6), pages 1321-1336, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty


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