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Statistical utilitarianism

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  • Pivato, Marcus

Abstract

We show that, in a sufficiently large population satisfying certain statistical regularities, it is often possible to accurately estimate the utilitarian social welfare function, even if we only have very noisy data about individual utility functions and interpersonal utility comparisons. In particular, we show that it is often possible to identify an optimal or close-to-optimal utilitarian social choice using voting rules such as the Borda rule, approval voting, relative utilitarianism, or any Condorcet-consistent rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Pivato, Marcus, 2013. "Statistical utilitarianism," MPRA Paper 49561, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49561
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Amrita Dhillon & Jean-Francois Mertens, 1999. "Relative Utilitarianism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(3), pages 471-498, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pivato, Marcus, 2015. "Condorcet meets Bentham," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 58-65.
    2. Marcus Pivato, 2016. "Asymptotic utilitarianism in scoring rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 431-458, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    utilitarian; relative utilitarian; approval voting; Borda; scoring rule; Condorcet.;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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