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The Indexing Impasse: Is "the Intersection Approach" a Solution?


  • Brun, B.C.
  • Tungodden, B.


Rawls (1971,1993) suggests that interpersonal comparisons of well-being should be based on a primary goods index, but it is well-known that in general this approach is not compatible with the Pareto principle. This is the indexing impasse. Sen (1985,1991) argues that this is partly due to the fact that the approach does not take note of the citizen's orderings of these bundles of valuable objects. He suggests an +intersection approach ; , which is an incomplete approach to interpersonal comparisons based on judgements that are shared implications of the relevant set of weighting schemes. In this paper, we show that +the intersection approach; does not provide any solution to the indexing impasse. Unless the individuals have identical preferences, +the intersection approach; is incompatible with the Pareto principle.

Suggested Citation

  • Brun, B.C. & Tungodden, B., 1998. "The Indexing Impasse: Is "the Intersection Approach" a Solution?," Papers 24/98, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:norgee:24/98

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-764, July.
    2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    3. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. II," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 82-111, August.
    4. Anthony F. Shorrocks & James E. Foster, 1987. "Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 485-497.
    5. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. I," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 416-442, June.
    6. Menezes, C & Geiss, C & Tressler, J, 1980. "Increasing Downside Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 921-932, December.
    7. Davies, James & Hoy, Michael, 1995. "Making Inequality Comparisons When Lorenz Curves Intersect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 980-986, September.
    8. Kakwani, Nanak, 1980. "On a Class of Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 437-446, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Some Reflections on the Role of Moral Reasoning in Economics," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 30, pages 49-59.

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    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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