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Salience and Social Choice

Mark Schneider () and Jonathan Leland ()
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Mark Schneider: Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and University of Alabama

Working Papers from Chapman University, Economic Science Institute

Abstract: The axioms of expected utility and discounted utility theory have been tested extensively. In contrast, the axioms of social welfare functions have only been tested in a few questionnaire studies involving choices between hypothetical income distributions. In this note, we conduct a controlled experiment with 100 subjects in the role of social planners that tests ve fundamental properties of social welfare functions to provide a basic test of cardinal social choice theory. We nd that four properties of the standard social welfare functions tested are systematically violated, producing an Allais paradox, a common ratio eect, a framing eect, and a skewness eect in social choice. We also develop a model of salience based social choice which predicts these systematic deviations and highlights the close relationship between these anomalies and the classical paradoxes for risk and time.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-upt
Date: 2019
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