The Measurement of Social Welfare

By Jerome Rothenberg | Go to book overview
The concept of bare preference, as developed so far, does not appear to lend itself to a useful formulation of cardinal utility either for individuals or for groups. It certainly does not at this time provide the key to interpersonal comparisons of utility. We gain little toward the construction of an acceptable social welfare function by employing it.

APPENDIX 1:

The Application of Bare Preference to Ordinal Preference Theory

Modifying traditional preference theory with Armstrong's considerations is not easy. Two general courses suggest themselves. We can translate bare preference and the various degrees of intra-threshold preference into a band of fuzziness, or penumbra, 1) around each indifferent curve, or 2) around each alternative of choice. With either course, the implication is that an individual's levels of welfare discrimination are decreased sharply to some finite number (in the realistic case of a saturation area. Cf. J. M. Clark, op. cit., 349-350). But these reductions lead to difficulties.

Under the first course, it might be expected that a possible interpretation would be one in which the indifference curves are viewed as step functions, the step interval being equal to an assumed constant bare preference. This interpretation, however, leads to a contradiction, since it will not necessarily be true that a combination at one welfare level is at least barely preferred to any combination in the next lowest welfare level. A preference intensity less than bare preference can give rise to a welfare change of bare preference. To see this, consider the following diagram.

For graphical purposes we may simplify our alternatives of choice into two-dimensional vectors, i.e., combinations of commodities X and Y. Our curves do not here specify particular preference levels but rather each pair of curves expresses the boundaries of all combinations of A and B which are perceived as giving the same satisfaction. All combinations within the area I are equally satisfactory. Similarly for area II, each combination is deemed barely preferable to any combination in I.

If we could assume that the dimensions of our commodity space were homogeneous, we could take distances in the preference direction, i.e., as measured along gradient vectors, as representing preference intensities.

-174-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Measurement of Social Welfare
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 360

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.