Econometrica: Oct 1977, Volume 45, Issue 7

On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis

https://doi.org/0012-9682(197710)45:7<1539:OWAMIC>2.0.CO;2-T
p. 1539-1572

Amartya Sen

Regularity conditions in social welfare analysis can be seen as ways of making specific types of information "inadmissible" in welfare judgements: the evaluation is made invariant with respect to information of those types. In this sense, these conditions--often reflecting "principles" of judgement--serve also as informational constraints. In this lecture alternative approaches to social welfare evaluation are examined in this light. The analysis covers both Arrovian and Bergson--Samualsonian social welfare functions as well as principles underlying utilitarianism, Rawlsian conception of justice, notions of liberty and egality, and "historical" theories of rights and entitlements (e.g., Marx or Nozick.

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