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Interpersonal comparisons of well-being

By Charles Blackorby and Walter Bossert


This paper, which is to be published as a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, provides an introduction to social-choice theory with interpersonal comparisons of well-being. We argue that the most promising route of escape from the negative conclusion of Arrow's theorem is to use a richer informational environment than ordinal measurability and the absence of interpersonal comparability of well-being. We discuss welfarist social evaluation (which requires that the levels of individual well-being in two alternatives are the only determinants of their social ranking) and present characterizations of some important social-evaluation orderings

Topics: HB
Publisher: University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Year: 2004
OAI identifier:

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