Interpersonal Comparisons of Well-Being
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofCahier de recherche ; no. 2004-06.
Publisher(s)Université de Montréal. Département de sciences économiques.
- Arrow’s theorem
- social choice with interpersonal utility comparisons
- [JEL:D63] Microeconomics - Welfare Economics - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- [JEL:D63] Microéconomie - Économie du bien-être - Egalité, justice, inégalité et autres critères normatifs et mesures
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.