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Extending the Informational Basis of Welfare Economics: The Case of Preference Dynamics

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  • Ulrich Witt

    ()

  • Christian Schubert

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Abstract

Normative reasoning in welfare economics and social contract theory usually presumes invariable, context-independent individual preferences. Following recent work particularly in behavioral economics this assumption is difficult to defend. This paper therefore explores what can be said about preferences and their changes from a motivation-theoretic perspective, i.e. by explaining what motivates economic agents in making their choices and what mechanisms of change are at work here. We show that on this basis it is possible to complement social welfare assessments by a differential weighing of different human motivations which is derived from empirically informed foundations rather than from ad hoc arguments.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Witt & Christian Schubert, 2010. "Extending the Informational Basis of Welfare Economics: The Case of Preference Dynamics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2010-05
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    Cited by:

    1. Leonhard K. Lades, 2012. "The impact of differential satiation dynamics on changing consumer behavior, wellbeing, and innovative activity," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-16, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    2. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Is novelty always a good thing? Towards an evolutionary welfare economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 585-619, July.
    3. SafarzyƄska, Karolina, 2013. "Evolutionary-economic policies for sustainable consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 187-195.
    4. Benjamin Volland, 2013. "On the intergenerational transmission of preferences," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 217-249, October.
    5. Lades, Leonhard K., 2014. "Impulsive consumption and reflexive thought: Nudging ethical consumer behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 114-128.
    6. Ulrich Witt, 2011. "Sustainability and the Problem of Consumption," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-16, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preference Change; Welfare; Needs; Subsistence Level; Redistribution Length 31 pages;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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