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Opportunity Sets and Individual Well-Being


  • Bossert, W.


An opportunity set ranking rule assigns an ordering of opportunity sets to each individual utility function (defined on the universal set of alternatives) within the domain of this rule. Using an axiomatic approach, this paper characterizes a general class of opportunity set ranking rules which are based on the utilities associated with the elements of an opportunity set. It is argued that the addition of an alternative to a given opportunity set is not necessarily desirable in terms of overall well-being, and this position is reflected in replacing a commonly used monotonicity axiom with an alternative condition.
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Suggested Citation

  • Bossert, W., 1994. "Opportunity Sets and Individual Well-Being," Working Papers 9414, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:9414

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 421-439.
    2. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1997. "Birth-Date Dependent Population Ethics: Critical-Level Principles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 260-284, December.
    3. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Equity, Arrow's Conditions, and Rawls' Difference Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 793-804, July.
    4. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Equity in Two Person Situations: Some Consequences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1127-1135, September.
    5. Claude D'Aspremont & Louis Gevers, 1977. "Equity and the Informational Basis of Collective Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(2), pages 199-209.
    6. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A, 1984. "Social Choice with Interpersonal Utility Comparisons: A Diagrammatic Introduction," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(2), pages 327-356, June.
    7. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    8. John BROOME, 1992. "The Value of Living," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1992021, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    9. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
    10. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-1572, October.
    11. Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Possibility Theorems with Interpersonally Comparable Welfare Levels," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 409-420.
    12. Sen, Amartya, 1974. "Informational bases of alternative welfare approaches : Aggregation and income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 387-403, November.
    13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
    14. Bossert, Walter, 1990. "Social evaluation with variable population size: an alternative concept," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 143-158, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoinette Baujard, 2006. "Conceptions of freedom and ranking opportunity sets. A typology," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 200611, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    2. Bervoets, Sebastian & Gravel, Nicolas, 2007. "Appraising diversity with an ordinal notion of similarity: An axiomatic approach," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 259-273, May.
    3. Barbera, S. & Bossert, W. & Pattanaik, P.K., 2001. "Ranking Sets of Objects," Cahiers de recherche 2001-02, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    4. Erwin Ooghe & Erik Schokkaert & Dirk gaer, 2007. "Equality of Opportunity versus Equality of Opportunity Sets," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 28(2), pages 209-230, February.
    5. John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1288-1332, December.
    6. Arlegi, Ritxar & Dimitrov, Dinko, 2011. "On freedom, lack of information and the preference for easy choices," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 364, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    7. Herrero, Carmen, 1997. "Equitable opportunities: an extension," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 91-95, August.
    8. Ricardo Arlegi, 2005. "Freedom Of Choice And Conflict Resolution," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0502, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    9. Ricardo Arlegi & Dinko Dimitrov, 2006. "On Freedom of Choice, Ambiguity, and the Preference for Easy Choices," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0607, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    10. Walter Bossert, "undated". "Opportunity Sets and the Measurement of Information," Discussion Papers 98/6, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.

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