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Behavioral Fair Social Choice

  • Marc Fleurbaey


    (Princeton University)

  • Erik Schokkaert


    (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and CORE)

Behavioral economics has shaken the view that individuals have well-defined, consistent and stable preferences. This raises a challenge for welfare economics, which takes as a key postulate that individual preferences should be respected. This paper scrutinizes the challenge and argues, in agreement with Bernheim (2009) and Bernheim and Rangel (2009) that behavioral economics is compatible with consistency of partial preferences. While Bernheim and Rangel have focused on how to incorporate insights from behavioral economics into traditional concepts of welfare economics (Pareto optimality, compensation tests), we explore how the approach can be extended to deal with distributive issues. This paper revisits some key results of the theory in a framework with partial preferences and shows how one can derive partial orderings of individual and social situations.

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Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2012-012.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2012-012
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  1. Koszegi, Botond & Rabin, Matthew, 2008. "Choices, situations, and happiness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1821-1832, August.
  2. FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik & DECANCQ, Koen, 2009. "What good is happiness?," CORE Discussion Papers 2009017, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Amos Tversky & Itamar Simonson, 1993. "Context-Dependent Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1179-1189, October.
  4. M. Fleurbaey., 2012. "Beyond GDP: The Quest for a Measure of Social Welfare," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 2.
  5. Beshears, John Leonard & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David I. & Madrian, Brigitte, 2008. "How Are Preferences Revealed?," Scholarly Articles 11130523, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Bernt Christian Brun & Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Non-welfaristic theories of justice: Is “the intersection approach” a solution to the indexing impasse?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-60, 02.
  7. Marc Fleurbaey, 2005. "Health, Wealth, and Fairness," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(2), pages 253-284, 05.
  8. Dalton, Patricio & Ghosal, Sayantan, 2008. "Behavioural Decisions and Welfare," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 834, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  9. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  10. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Money metric utility: A harmless normalization?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 120-129, October.
  11. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2010. "Behavioral welfare economics," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 57(1), pages 1-22, March.
  13. Willig, Robert D, 1981. "Social Welfare Dominance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 200-204, May.
  14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521715348 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2008. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 13737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104, February.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521887427 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
  19. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
  20. King, Mervyn A., 1983. "Welfare analysis of tax reforms using household data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 183-214, July.
  21. Marc Fleurbaey & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 243-263, October.
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