IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impossibility of Social Choice and the Possibilities of Individual Values: Political and Philosophical Liberalism Reconsidered


  • Werner Güth

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Strategic Interaction Group)

  • Hartmut Kliemt

    (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)


Though the social choice of social institutions or social results is impossible - there is, strictly speaking, no social choice - individual evaluations of social institutions or results trivially are possible. Such individual evaluations can be deemed liberal either because they emphasize political institutions that embody liberal values (political liberalism) or because individuals make up their mind in a specifically "liberal" way of forming ethical judgment (philosophical liberalism). Seen in this light the Paradox of Liberalism is of theoretical or philosophical interest but not a practical problem of political (institutional) liberalism.

Suggested Citation

  • Werner Güth & Hartmut Kliemt, 2008. "The Impossibility of Social Choice and the Possibilities of Individual Values: Political and Philosophical Liberalism Reconsidered," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-061, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2008-061

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zoltan Acs & Catherine Armington, 2004. "Employment Growth and Entrepreneurial Activity in Cities," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(8), pages 911-927.
    2. André van Stel & Jolanda Hessels & Dirk De Clercq, 2007. "New Ventures' Export Orientation: Outcome and Source of Knowledge Spillovers," Scales Research Reports H200713, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    3. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-690, September.
    4. Acs, Zoltan J. & Desai, Sameeksha & Klapper, Leora F, 2008. "What does"entrepreneurship"data really show ? a comparison of the global entrepreneurship monitor and World Bank group datasets," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4667, The World Bank.
    5. Sander Wennekers & André Stel & Roy Thurik & Paul Reynolds, 2008. "Nascent entrepreneurship and the level of economic development," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 325-325, March.
    6. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
    7. Balassa, Bela, 1971. "Trade Policies in Developing Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 178-187, May.
    8. Balassa, Bela, 1988. "The Lessons of East Asian Development: An Overview," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 273-290, Supplemen.
    9. Martin Carree & André Van Stel & Roy Thurik & Sander Wennekers, 2007. "The relationship between economic development and business ownership revisited," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 281-291, May.
    10. Zoltán J. Ács & Sameeksha Desai & Leora F. Klapper, 2015. "What does ‘‘entrepreneurship’’ data really show?," Chapters,in: Global Entrepreneurship, Institutions and Incentives, chapter 24, pages 464-480 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Akyuz, Yilmaz & Gore, Charles, 2001. "African Economic Development in a Comparative Perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 265-288, May.
    12. Acs, Zoltan J., 2008. "Foundations of High Impact Entrepreneurship," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 4(6), pages 535-620, June.
    13. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    14. Hans Singer, 1999. "Beyond terms of trade-convergence and divergence," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 911-916.
    15. John Weiss, 2005. "Export Growth and Industrial Policy: Lessons from the East Asian Miracle Experience," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 47618, Inter-American Development Bank.
    16. Bruton, H.J., 1998. "A Reconsideration of Import Substitution," Center for Development Economics 156, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    17. Jolanda Hessels & Marco Gelderen & Roy Thurik, 2008. "Entrepreneurial aspirations, motivations, and their drivers," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 323-339, October.
    18. Zoltan Acs & Sameeksha Desai & Jolanda Hessels, 2008. "Entrepreneurship, economic development and institutions," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 219-234, October.
    19. Jonathan Levie & Erkko Autio, 2008. "A theoretical grounding and test of the GEM model," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 235-263, October.
    20. Krueger, Anne O, 1980. "Trade Policy as an Input to Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 288-292, May.
    21. Poh Wong & Yuen Ho & Erkko Autio, 2005. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth: Evidence from GEM data," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 335-350, January.
    22. David Sapsford & Supriya Garikipati, 2006. "Trade Liberalisation, Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(11), pages 1571-1579, November.
    23. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2006. "Entry regulation as a barrier to entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 591-629, December.
    24. Henry J. Bruton, 1998. "A Reconsideration of Import Substitution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 903-936, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Philosophical Liberalism; Political Liberalism; Public Choice; Social Choice;

    JEL classification:

    • B3 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2008-061. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Markus Pasche). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.