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A new puzzle in the social evaluation of risk

Marc Fleurbaey () and Stéphane Zuber
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Marc Fleurbaey: PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) from HAL

Abstract: We highlight a new paradox for the social evaluation of risk that bears on the evaluation of individual well-being rather than social welfare, but has serious implications for social evaluation. The paradox consists in a tension between rationality, respect for individual preferences, and a principle of informational parsimony that excludes individual risk attitudes from the assessment of riskless situations. No social evaluation criteria can satisfy these three principles. This impossibility result has implications for the evaluation of social welfare under risk, especially when the preferences of some individuals are not known. It generalizes existing impossibility results, while relying on very weak principles of social rationality and respect for individual preferences. We explore the possibilities opened by weakening one of our three principles and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of these different routes.

Date: 2020-11
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03048572
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Published in 2020

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Working Paper: A new puzzle in the social evaluation of risk (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: A new puzzle in the social evaluation of risk (2020) Downloads
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