Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐Being

Charles Blackorby and Walter Bossert

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548477
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577437 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Interpersonal Comparisons of Well‐Being

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This article provides a short survey of the use of interpersonal comparisons in social evaluation. The focus of this discussion is on the principles for social evaluation that are welfarist, or those principles that use information about individual well-being to rank alternatives. The article reviews some of the most important characterization results for the welfarist social evaluation principles. A basic notation, along with a formal definition of social evaluation functionals, is introduced. The article then formulates some basic axioms for social evaluation orderings, and this is followed by an introduction to information invariance properties. The article also provides an overview of some important results.

Keywords: interpersonal comparisons; social evaluation; welfarist; individual well-being; social evaluation principles; functionals; basic axioms; information invariance properties

Article.  8126 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy ; Political Theory

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