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Why Satisfy Preferences?

  • Daniel M. Hausman
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    Contemporary mainstream normative economists assess policies in terms of their capacities to satisfy preferences, though most would concede that other factors such as freedom, rights, and justice are also relevant. Why should policy be responsive to preferences? This essay argues that the best reason is that people's preferences are in some circumstances good evidence of what will benefit them. When those circumstances do not obtain and preferences are not good evidence of welfare, there is little reason to satisfy preferences.

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    File URL: ftp://137.248.191.199/RePEc/esi/discussionpapers/2011-24.pdf
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    Paper provided by Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2011-24.

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    Length: 16 pages
    Date of creation: 05 Jan 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2011-24
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    Web page: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb19/
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    1. Zerbe, Richard Jr. & Bauman, Yoram & Finkle, Aaron, 2006. "An aggregate measure for benefit-cost analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 449-461, June.
    2. Sugden, Robert & Williams, Alan, 1978. "The Principles of Practical Cost-Benefit Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198770411, March.
    3. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard Tol & DAVID Pearce, 1997. "The Aggregation of Climate Change Damages: a Welfare Theoretic Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 249-266, October.
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