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Chapter Twenty-Four - Freedom, Opportunity, and Well-Being

In: Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare


  • James E., Foster


This paper reexamines key results from the measurement of opportunity freedom, or the extent to which a set of options offers a decision maker real opportunities to achieve. Three cases are investigated: no preferences, a single preference, and plural preferences. The three corresponding evaluation methods—the cardinality relation, the indirect utility relation, and the effective freedom relation—and their variations are considered within a common axiomatic framework. Special attention is given to representations of freedom rankings, with the goal of providing practical approaches for measuring opportunity freedom and the extent of people's capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • James E., Foster, 2011. "Chapter Twenty-Four - Freedom, Opportunity, and Well-Being," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 687-728, Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socchp:2-24

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    More about this item


    freedom; individual choices; welfare; capabilities; axiomatic approach; orderings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General


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