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Measurement Scales and Welfarist Social Choice

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Morreau

    () (UiT - The Arctic University of Norway)

  • John A Weymark

    () (Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

The social welfare functional approach to social choice theory fails to distinguish between a genuine change in individual well-beings from a merely representational change due to the use of di erent measurement scales. A generalization of the concept of a social welfare functional is introduced that explicitly takes account of the scales that are used to measure well-beings so as to distinguish between these two kinds of changes. This generalization of the standard theoretical framework results in a more satisfactory formulation of welfarism, the doctrine that social alternatives are evaluated and socially ranked solely in terms of the well-beings of the relevant individuals. This scale-dependent form of welfarism is axiomatized using this framework. The implications of this approach for characterizing classes of social welfare orderings are also considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Morreau & John A Weymark, 2015. "Measurement Scales and Welfarist Social Choice," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 15-00008, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:vuecon-sub-15-00008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Charles BLACKORBY & David DONALDSON & John A. WEYMARK, 1990. "A Welfarist Proof of Arrow's Theorem," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1990031, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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    5. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson, 2005. "Multi-profile welfarism: A generalization," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 24(2), pages 253-267, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    grading; measurement scales; social welfare functionals; utility aggregation; welfarism;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics

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