Journal Article

On the Justice of Decision Rules

Jose Apesteguia, Miguel A. Ballester and Rosa Ferrer

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 78, issue 1, pages 1-16
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI:

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Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Welfare Economics
  • Microeconomics
  • Analysis of Collective Decision-making


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Which decision rules are the most efficient? Which are the best in terms of maximin or maximax? We study these questions for the case of a group of individuals faced with a collective choice from a set of alternatives. A key message from our results is that the set of optimal decision rules is well defined, particularly simple, and well known: the class of scoring rules. We provide the optimal scoring rules for the three different ideals of justice under consideration: utilitarianism (efficiency), maximin, and maximax. The optimal utilitarian scoring rule depends crucially on the probability distribution of the utilities. The optimal maximin (respectively maximax) scoring rule takes the optimal utilitarian scoring rule and applies a factor that shifts it towards negative voting (respectively plurality voting).

Keywords: Decision rules; Scoring rules; Utilitarianism; Maximin; Maximax; D00; D63; D71; D72

Journal Article.  6091 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Welfare Economics ; Microeconomics ; Analysis of Collective Decision-making