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John A Weymark
''Social Welfare Functions''
This article provides an introduction to the use of social welfare functions for the comparative evaluation of social alternatives. Three main approaches are considered: Bergson–Samuelson social welfare functions, Arrovian social welfare functions, and Sen's social welfare functionals. How the measurability and comparability of utility can be modelled and how limitations on the types of utility comparisons that are possible restricts the kinds of social welfare functions that can be considered is also discussed. Extensive social choice theory is used to deal with heterogeneous opinions about how to make utility comparisons.
Keywords: Arrovian social welfare function, Bergson–Samuelson social welfare function, social welfare functional, welfare economics
JEL: D6 - Welfare Economics: General
D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making: General
Manuscript Received : Nov 10 2013 Manuscript Accepted : Nov 26 2013

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