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Do Irrelevant Commodities Matter?

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Abstract

We study the possibility of making social evaluations independently of individual preferences over non-consumed commodities. This is related to the well-known problem of performing international comparisons of standard of living across countries with different consumption goods. We prove impossibility results which suggest that such evaluations encounter difficulties when the objects of evaluation are allocations of ordinary commodities. We show how possibility results can be retrieved when the objects of evaluation are allocations of composite commodities or human functionings.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Fleurbaey & Koichi Tadenuma, 2005. "Do Irrelevant Commodities Matter?," IDEP Working Papers 0504, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised Jan 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:iep:wpidep:0504
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    1. LeBreton, M., 1994. "Arrovian Social Choice on Economic Domains," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 94a37, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
    2. Fleurbaey, Marc & Suzumura, Kotaro & Tadenuma, Koichi, 2005. "Arrovian aggregation in economic environments: how much should we know about indifference surfaces?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 22-44.
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    4. Border, Kim C., 1983. "Social welfare functions for economic environments with and without the pareto principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 205-216, April.
    5. Marc Fleurbaey & Kotaro Suzumura & Koichi Tadenuma, 2005. "The informational basis of the theory of fair allocation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 24(2), pages 311-341, April.
    6. Mayston, David J., 1982. "The generation of a social welfare function under ordinal preferences," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 109-129, September.
    7. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1988. "Social choice in economic environments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 291-308, December.
    8. John Bone, 2003. "Simple Arrow-type propositions in the Edgeworth domain," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 20(1), pages 41-48.
    9. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 2008. "Fair social orderings," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 25-45.
    10. Elisha A. Pazner & David Schmeidler, 1978. "Egalitarian Equivalent Allocations: A New Concept of Economic Equity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 671-687.
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    13. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328-328.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ehlers, Lars & Klaus, Bettina, 2016. "Object allocation via deferred-acceptance: Strategy-proofness and comparative statics," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 128-146.
    2. de Clippel, Geoffroy & Bejan, Camelia, 2011. "No profitable decompositions in quasi-linear allocation problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(5), pages 1995-2012, September.
    3. DECANCQ, Koen & FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik, "undated". "Inequality, income and well-being," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2694, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer Preferences; Social Choice; Irrelevant Commodities; Functionings;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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