IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Sufficient Welfare Indicators Allowing Disagreement in Evaluations of Social Welfare




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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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


    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


    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:ssb:dispap:119. 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: (L Maasø). 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.