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The News of the Death of Welfare Economics is Greatly Exaggerated

  • Marc Fleurbaey

    (CATT - IDEP)

  • Philippe Mongin

    (CECO - Laboratoire d'econometrie de l'école polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7657 - Polytechnique - X)

Après qu'Arrow eut démontré son théorème d'impossibilité, les "fonctions de bien-être social de Bergson-Samuelson" (FBS) firent l'objet d'une controverse qui opposa les théoriciens du choix social aux économistes du bien-être. Une version nouvelle du théorème parue dans les années 1970 visait à établir que les FBS "ou bien font des comparaisons d'utilité interpersonnelle, ou bien sont dictatoriales". Refusant cette conclusion, Samuelson réaffirma l'existence de FBS "ordinalistes" et, cependant, non-dictatoriales; plus généralement, il nia la pertinence des résultats arroviens pour l'économie du bien-être. L'article formalise et réévalue les arguments avancés de chaque côté. Bien qu'il critique également ceux de Samuelson, il approuve sa conclusion, voulant que l'économie du bien-être soit sortie indemne de la controverse. L'article propose de rapprocher les FBS de certaines constructions de l'économie normative contemporaine.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-00242931.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00242931
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