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Incomplete altruistic preferences



This note is concerned with qualitative restrictions on individual binary preferences of decision makers over profiles of individual actions to account for intersubjective sensitivity to welfare, or preferences, of others, when numerical representations by utility functions fail, due to incompleteness of the binary relations. The restrictions are to accommodate notions of altruism, egoism, paternalism, and others, as externalities of private actions of others through others’ welfare, or preferences, as in the literature. A conclusion is suggested to the exent that a notion of utility which is independent of numerical representations of preferences may be necessary to deal with attitudes of concern towards the preferences of others.

Suggested Citation

  • Vittorioemanuele Ferrante, 2012. "Incomplete altruistic preferences," Working Papers - Economics wp2012_05.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  • Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2012_05.rdf

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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Biggeri & Nicolò Bellanca, 2013. "Capabilities and Human Dilemmas: How to Cope with Incompleteness," Working Papers - Economics wp2013_08.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.

    More about this item


    incomplete preferences; utility; altruism; egoism; paternalism; externalities;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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