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Benefit-Cost in a Benevolent Society

Author

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  • Theodore C. Bergstrom

    (University of California Santa Barbara)

Abstract

How should benefit-cost analysis account for the value that benevolent individuals place on other people's pleasure from public goods? When adding up the benefits to be compared with costs, should we sum the private valuations, the altruistic valuations, or something else? This paper proposes a partial answer, along with some suggestions for benefit-cost practitioners.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2004. "Benefit-Cost in a Benevolent Society," Public Economics 0405006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0405006
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bergstrom, Theodore C., 1970. "A "Scandinavian consensus" solution for efficient income distribution among nonmalevolent consumers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 383-398, December.
    2. Carson, Richard T, 1999. "Contingent Valuation: A User's Guide," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2mw607q7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    3. McConnell, K. E., 1997. "Does Altruism Undermine Existence Value?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 22-37, January.
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    5. Winter, Sidney Jr., 1969. "A simple remark on the second optimality theorem of welfare economics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 99-103, June.
    6. Flores, Nicholas E., 2002. "Non-paternalistic altruism and welfare economics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 293-305, February.
    7. Jones-Lee, M W, 1992. "Paternalistic Altruism and the Value of Statistical Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 80-90, January.
    8. Dickie, Mark & Messman, Victoria L., 2004. "Parental altruism and the value of avoiding acute illness: are kids worth more than parents?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 1146-1174, November.
    9. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
    10. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Cornes, Richard C, 1983. "Independence of Allocative Efficiency from Distribution in the Theory of Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1753-1765, November.
    11. Loomis, John B. & White, Douglas S., 1996. "Economic benefits of rare and endangered species: summary and meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 197-206, September.
    12. Serge-Christophe Kolm, 2000. "A historical introduction to normative economics," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 17(4), pages 707-738.
    13. Johansson, Per-Olov, 1994. "Altruism and the value of statistical life: Empirical implications," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 111-118, March.
    14. G. C. Archibald & David Donaldson, 1976. "Non-Paternalism and the Basic Theorems of Welfare Economics," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 9(3), pages 492-507, August.
    15. Thomas H. Stevens & Jaime Echeverria & Ronald J. Glass & Tim Hager & Thomas A. More, 1991. "Measuring the Existence Value of Wildlife: What Do CVM Estimates Really Show?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(4), pages 390-400.
    16. Jones-Lee, M W & Hammerton, M & Philips, P R, 1985. "The Value of Safety: Results of a National Sample Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 49-72, March.
    17. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1999. " Systems of Benevolent Utility Functions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 71-100.
    18. W. Michael Hanemann, 1994. "Valuing the Environment through Contingent Valuation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 19-43, Fall.
    19. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Paul A. Samuelson, 1950. "Evaluation Of Real National Income," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-29.
    21. Bergstrom, Ted, 1989. "Love and Spaghetti, the Opportunity Cost of Virtue," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 165-173, Spring.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    benefit-cost; contingent valuation; altruism;

    JEL classification:

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

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