Pivato, Marcus (2011): Social choice with approximate interpersonal comparison of welfare gains.

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Abstract
Suppose it is possible to make approximate interpersonal comparisons of welfare gains and losses. Thus, if w, x, y, and z are personal psychophysical states (each encoding all ethically relevant information about the physical and mental state of a person), then it sometimes possible to say, ``The welfare gain of the state change w > x is greater than the welfare gain of the state change y > z.'' We can represent this by the formula ``(w > x)> (y > z)'', where `>' is a `difference preorder': an incomplete preorder on the space of all possible personal state changes. A `social state change' is a bundle of personal state changes. A `social difference preorder' (SDP) is an incomplete preorder on the space of social state changes, which satisfies Pareto and Anonymity axioms. The `minimal' SDP is the natural extension of the SuppesSen preorder to this setting; we show that it is a subrelation of every other SDP. The `approximate utilitarian' SDP ranks social state changes by comparing the sum total utility gain they induce, with respect to all `utility functions' compatible with `>'. The `net gain' preorder ranks social state changes by comparing the aggregate welfare gain they induce upon various subpopulations. We show that, under certain conditions, all three of these preorders coincide.
Item Type:  MPRA Paper 

Original Title:  Social choice with approximate interpersonal comparison of welfare gains 
Language:  English 
Keywords:  utilitarian; interpersonal comparisons; difference order; cardinal utility; linearly ordered abelian group 
Subjects:  D  Microeconomics > D6  Welfare Economics > D63  Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement D  Microeconomics > D7  Analysis of Collective DecisionMaking > D70  General 
Item ID:  32252 
Depositing User:  Marcus Pivato 
Date Deposited:  14. Jul 2011 22:30 
Last Modified:  12. Feb 2013 15:39 
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URI:  https://mpra.ub.unimuenchen.de/id/eprint/32252 