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Behavioral fair social choice



    (Princeton University, USA)



    (Department of Economics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

Behavioral economics has shaken the view that individuals have well-defined, consistent and stable preferences. This raises a challenge for welfare economics, which takes as a key postulate that individual preferences should be respected. We agree with Bernheim (2009) and Bernheim and Rangel (2009) that behavioral economics is compatible with consistency of partial preferences and that subjective welfare measures do not offer an attractive way out of the impasse. However, their analysis which rests on traditional concepts like Pareto optimality and compensation tests, is not adequate to introduce distributional considerations. We explore how partial preferences can be introduced in the recent theory of welfare that has developed from the theory of fair allocation. We revisit the key results of that theory in a framework with partial preferences and show how one can derive partial orderings of individual and social situations.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2011043.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2011043
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  1. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Money metric utility: A harmless normalization?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 120-129, October.
  2. John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2007. "How Are Preferences Revealed?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001760, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  4. Willig, Robert D, 1981. "Social Welfare Dominance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 200-204, May.
  5. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Dalton, Patricio; Ghosal, Sayantan, 2010. "Behavioural Decisions and Welfare," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 06, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  7. Marc Fleurbaey, 2005. "Health, Wealth, and Fairness," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(2), pages 253-284, 05.
  8. M. Fleurbaey., 2012. "Beyond GDP: The Quest for a Measure of Social Welfare," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 3.
  9. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2010. "Behavioral welfare economics," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 57(2), pages 123-151, June.
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  12. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2007. "Beyond Revealed Preference Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," Discussion Papers 07-031, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  13. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521887427.
  14. FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik & DECANCQ, Koen, 2009. "What good is happiness?," CORE Discussion Papers 2009017, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Marc Fleurbaey & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 243-263, October.
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  17. Amos Tversky & Itamar Simonson, 1993. "Context-Dependent Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1179-1189, October.
  18. Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
  19. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
  20. Bernt Christian Brun & Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Non-welfaristic theories of justice: Is “the intersection approach” a solution to the indexing impasse?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-60, 02.
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