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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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Responsibility *

Responsibility *

The Handbook of Rational and Social Choice

Marc Fleurbaey

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the various ways in which individual responsibility has been incorporated in the definition of social rankings or allocation rules, in the theory of social choice as well as in the theory of fair allocation. It stresses the concepts underlying the different approaches. In particular, the literature reveals a deep opposition between two conceptions of responsibility: “liberal” one which sees responsibility as eliminating the need for redistribution and a “utilitarian” one which considers that responsibility justifies adopting an inequality‐neutral social objective. There is a second opposition, between the compensation principle that focuses on neutralizing the inequalities for which the individuals are not responsible and the reward principles which focus on the consequences of responsibility. Combining these two divides yields four distinct ways of defining a responsibility‐catering social objective (or allocation rule).

Keywords:   responsibility, opportunity, fairness, compensation, reward, egalitarianism

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