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The Handbook of Rational and Social Choice$
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Paul Anand, Prasanta Pattanaik, and Clemens Puppe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199290420

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199290420.001.0001

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Consequentialism and Non‐Consequentialism *

Consequentialism and Non‐Consequentialism *


The Handbook of Rational and Social Choice

Kotaro Suzumura

Yongsheng Xu

Oxford University Press

Most, if not all, practitioners of welfare economics and social choice theory are presumed to be welfaristic in their conviction. Indeed, they evaluate the goodness of an economic policy and/or economic system in terms of the welfare that people receive at the culmination outcomes thereby generated. Recent years have witnessed a substantial upsurge of interest in the non‐welfaristic bases, or even the non‐consequentialist bases, of welfare economics and social choice theory. Capitalizing on the axiomatic approach explored in the recent past, this chapter tries to provide a coherent analysis of consequentialism vis‐a‐vis non‐consequentialism. To begin with, this chapter develops an abstract framework in which the primitive of the analysis is a preference ordering held by an evaluator over the pairs of culmination outcomes, and opportunity sets from which those culmination outcomes are chosen. As a partial test to see how much relevance can be claimed the axiomatized concepts of consequentialism and non‐consequentialism, two simple applications of this abstract framework are worked out. The first application is to the Arrovian social choice theory, and the second application is to the analysis of ultimatum games.

Keywords:   consequentialism, non‐consequentialism, culmination outcome, opportunity, extended preferences, Arrovian social choice theory, ultimatum games

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