A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare

  title={A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare},
  author={K. Arrow},
  journal={Journal of Political Economy},
  pages={328 - 346}
  • K. Arrow
  • Published 1950
  • Economics
  • Journal of Political Economy
IN A capitalist democracy there are essentially two methods by which social choices can be made: voting, typically used to make "political" decisions, and the market mechanism, typically used to make "economic" decisions. In the emerging democracies with mixed economic systems, Great Britain, France, and Scandinavia, the same two modes of making social choices prevail, though more scope is given to the method of voting and to decisions based directly or indirectly on it and less to the rule of… Expand
The conflict that came with markets. Welfare economics in the history of economic thought
The equivalence of Walrasian market equilibrium and Pareto optimality has become a benchmark against which actual markets are judged. The ruling has been that there is a need to bring in governmentExpand
Voters, Parties, and the Endogenous Size of Government
Elections, often to a considerable degree, influence the fiscal policies of governments installed on the basis of their results. Yet, economists have tended to view politicians' behaviour either asExpand
Toward a general model of price, choice of technique and distribution in a centrally-planned, socialist economy
Introduction The premise of this paper is that centrally-planned, socialist economies exist. Our aim is to locate and explain the characteristic features of such economies in terms of real socialExpand
The Possibility of Social Choice
The subject of social choice includes within its capacious frame various problems with the common feature of relating social judgments and group decisions to the views and interests of theExpand
Introduction to social choice and welfare
Social choice theory is concerned with the evaluation of alternative methods of collective decision-making, as well as with the logical foundations of welfare economics. In turn, welfare economics isExpand
A Fair Governance: On Inequality, Power and Democracy
Can governments keep the pace of global markets? It is a defining characteristic of the present times, tested and measured within multiple studies, that we are living in an increasinglyExpand
Choice Democracy
Democracy is defined by two core tenets: voice and pluralism. Within these constraints, a wide variety of regime types can be designed. We show that the only new, untested form of democracy is whenExpand
The Unlikely Story of American Regulatory Socialism
The conventional wisdom has it that U.S. Democrats and those on the American left support incremental steps in the direction of socialism, if not an all-out endorsement of the concept. However, in atExpand
Modeling Politics with Economic Tools: A Critical Survey of the Literature
Whereas the economics discipline possesses a highly refined theoretical apparatus to analyze the effects of government behaviour on the economy, it has not (yet) managed to fully develop a positivelyExpand
Should (and Could) We Ban Prescriptions?
Abstract In a simple model of social interaction I analyze the welfare effects of positive (prescriptive) and negative (proscriptive) social norms, together with the private incentives for theirExpand


Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0013-0133%28193912%2949%3A196%3C696%3ATFOWE%3E2.0.CO%3B2-M 6
  • Community Indifference William J. Baumol The Review of Economic Studies
  • 1946
Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0013-0133%28193909%2949%3A195%3C549%3AWPOEAI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-B 5 The Foundations of
  • Welfare Economics J. R. Hicks The Economic Journal
  • 1939
Welfare Propositions of Economics and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility Nicholas Kaldor The Economic Journal
  • Welfare Propositions of Economics and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility Nicholas Kaldor The Economic Journal
  • 1939