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Social Choice and Just Institutions: New Perspectives

  • Marc Fleurbaey

    (Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld University)

It has become accepted that social choice is impossible in absence of interpersonal comparisons of well-being. This view is challenged here. Arrow obtained an impossibility theorem only by making unreasonable demands on social choice functions. With reasonable requirements, one can get very attractive possibilities and derive social preferences on the basis of non-comparable individual preferences. This new approach makes it possible to design optimal second-best institutions inspired by principles of fairness, while traditionally the analysis of optimal second-best institutions was thought to require interpersonal comparisons of well-being. In particular, this new approach turns out to be especially suitable for the application of recent philosophical theories of justice formulated in terms of fairness, such as equality of resources.

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File Function: Revised version, 2002
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Paper provided by Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University in its series Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers with number 333.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bie:wpaper:333
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