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Consequentialism and Non-Consequentialism: The Axiomatic Approach


  • Suzumura, Kotaro
  • Xu, Yongsheng


Most, if not at all, practitioners of welfare economics and social choice theory are presumed to be welfaristic in their conviction. Indeed, they evaluate the goodness of an economic policy and/or economic system in terms of the welfare that people receive at the culmination outcomes thereby generated. Recent years have witnessed a substantial upsurge of interest in the non-welfaristic bases, or even the non-consequentialist bases, of welfare economics and social choice theory. Capitalizing on the axiomatic approach which we explored in the recent past, we try to provide a coherent analysis of consequentialism vis-à-vis non-consequentialism. To begin with, we develop an abstract framework in which the primitive of our analysis is a preference ordering held by an evaluator over the pairs of culmination outcomes and opportunity sets from which those culmination outcomes are chosen. As a partial test to see how much relevance can be claimed of the axiomatized concepts of consequentialism and non-consequentialism, two simple applications of this abstract framework are worked out. The first application is to the Arrovian social choice theory and the second application is to the analysis of ultimatum games.

Suggested Citation

  • Suzumura, Kotaro & Xu, Yongsheng, 2006. "Consequentialism and Non-Consequentialism: The Axiomatic Approach," Discussion Paper 299, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:piedp2:299 Note: This Version: August 2006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
    2. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yukinori Iwata, 2009. "Consequences, opportunities, and Arrovian impossibility theorems with consequentialist domains," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(3), pages 513-531, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


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