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Kenneth Arrow, moral obligations, and public policies

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  • Susumu Cato

    (Institute of Social Science, the University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.)

  • Adrien Lutz

    () (Univ Lyon, UJM Saint-Etienne, GATE UMR 5824, F-42023 Saint- Etienne, France)

Abstract

Kenneth Arrow is a founder of the social choice theory as well as a main developer of modern theories of market economies. Moral obligations and social norms are at the core of Arrow's ethical considerations to understand and overcome his well-known impossibility theorem of preference aggregation. Interestingly, he thinks that moral obligations and social norms are very important to overcome failures of market economies. Also, he proposed some interaction between public policies and evolution of social norms. Here, we can find a consistent and systematic thinking of Arrow's ethical considerations, which might be overlooked in spite of its importance. We believe that Arrow has political philosophy (or a theory of justice), which is quite useful to understand recent developments of behavioral economics and theories of non-market economies. Arrow's thought is totally different from Amartya Sen and John Rawls, which are dominant in modern theories of justice. Arrow's approach can shed some new lights on the subject of social justice.

Suggested Citation

  • Susumu Cato & Adrien Lutz, 2018. "Kenneth Arrow, moral obligations, and public policies," Working Papers 1841, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1841
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Efficiency; Equity; Social justice; Moral obligation; Social choice; Communitarianism;

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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