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Sufficient Welfare Indicators Allowing Disagreement in Evaluations of Social Welfare

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Abstract

There is no consensus on how to measure interpersonally comparable, cardinal utility. Despite of this, people repeatedly make welfare evaluations in their everyday lives. However, people do not always agree on such evaluations, and this is one important reason for political disagreements. Thus, to keep in control of the normative premises, decision makers may prefer information which can be used as input in an arbitrary social welfare function to information which is the output from a social welfare function specified by the analyst. In this paper we try to identify sufficient welfare indicators; information which enable decision makers to arrive at welfare evaluations of social states or projects, according to their own ethical beliefs. Our conclusion is that providing factual information about different population groups; their social state, size, and characteristics, may be better for this purpose than the more traditional approach of focusing on ordinal utility information.

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  • Kjell Arne Brekke & Hilde Lurås & Karine Nyborg, 1994. "Sufficient Welfare Indicators Allowing Disagreement in Evaluations of Social Welfare," Discussion Papers 119, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:119
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    File URL: https://www.ssb.no/a/publikasjoner/pdf/DP/dp_119.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard Tol & DAVID Pearce, 1997. "The Aggregation of Climate Change Damages: a Welfare Theoretic Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 249-266, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Disagreement; interpersonal comparison; social welfare.;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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