The literature on income distribution has attempted to quantitatively analyse different degrees of inequality using a social welfare function (SWF) approach. However, it has largely ignored the source of such inequalities, and has thus failed to consider different degrees of inequity. The literature on egalitarianism has addressed issues of equity, largely in relation to individual responsibility. This paper brings these two literatures together by introducing the concept of individual responsibility into the SWF approach. The results from an empirical study of people’s preferences in relation to the distribution of health benefits are presented to illustrate how the parameter values in such a SWF might be determined
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