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Ethics, Social Choice Theory and the Theory of Economic Policy

Plott, Charles R. (1972) Ethics, Social Choice Theory and the Theory of Economic Policy. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 2 (2). pp. 181-208. ISSN 0022-250X. doi:10.1080/0022250X.1972.9989813.

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This essay is intended as an expository paper on how the seemingly abstract social choice models are related to the practical problems of formulating models of economic policy. The flexibility of the social choice models in dealing with the problem of relating ethical propositions to propositions concerning social actions is not widely understood. The arguments found in the literature are frequently somewhat mathematical and authors seldom attempt to relate their results, or even the reasons for their research, to the underlying problems and motivations as they see them. In fact, however, as will be argued here, social choice models provide a natural framework for the evaluation and construction of economic policy. Most results can be directly interpreted in terms of policy consequences. Let me make clear at the outset, however, that this paper is not a summary of the arguments of several authors. The interpretations given here vary considerably from the interpretations offered by those who first developed some of the ideas.

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Alternate Title:The Relevance of Social Choice Theory to Models of Economic Policy
Additional Information:© 1972 Gordon and Breach Science Publishers. Originally issued as Social Science Working Paper 3, entitled "The Relevance of Social Choice Theory to Models of Economic Policy". The author has benefited from conversations and correspondence with David Braybrooke, James M. Buchanan, Edward T. Haefele, Richard Hertz, James C. Moore, Elinor Ostrum and Robert P. Parks. The financial support provided by the National Science Foundation Grant No. GS-36214 is gratefully acknowledged.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
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Social Science Working Paper3
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140303-132555179
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44091
Deposited On:04 Mar 2014 00:12
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:47

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