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Ethics, Economics, and PoliticsPrinciples of Public Policy$
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I. M. D. Little

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199257043.001.0001

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Collective Utility and Welfare

Collective Utility and Welfare

(p.11) 2 Collective Utility and Welfare
Ethics, Economics, and Politics

Ian Malcolm David Little

Oxford University Press

Normative economics is mainly concerned with the welfare of communities. Somehow the happiness or utility of individuals has to be compared, and amalgamated or added up. The status of the interpersonal comparisons involved is discussed. The mathematical conditions required for making sense of a general measure of the welfare or utility of a community are outlined. It is concluded that the concept makes sense, but the conditions are very demanding.

Keywords:   collective welfare, happiness, interpersonal comparisons, value judgements

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