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Revealed preferences with plural motives: axiomatic foundations of normative assessments in non-utilitarian welfare economics

Sebastian Silva-Leander () and Suman Seth ()
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Sebastian Silva-Leander: University of Oxford
Suman Seth: University of Oxford

Social Choice and Welfare, 2017, vol. 48, issue 3, 505-517

Abstract: Abstract This paper explores the possibility of defining a non-utilitarian normative standard for assessments of welfare and deprivation. The paper formalises a key aspect of Amartya Sen’s critique of the assumption of consistent utility-maximisation in the revealed preference theory and proposes a generalisation of the standard Samuelsonian choice model for the case in which choices are based on plural motives (here, self-interested and moral motives). Based on a set of intuitive assumptions about the way in which unobservable motives are linked to observable choices, we then construct an alternative normative ranking rule that can be used in non-utilitarian welfare economics to rank social outcomes or provide a normative basis for the construction of composite indices, for instance.

Keywords: Social Choice; Normative Ranking; Social Outcome; Moral Motive; Multidimensional Poverty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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