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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)

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Aggregating Local Preferences to Guide Marginal Policy Adjustments

Article Citation

Benjamin, Daniel J., Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, and Nichole Szembrot. 2013. "Aggregating Local Preferences to Guide Marginal Policy Adjustments." American Economic Review, 103(3): 605-10.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.605

Abstract

We propose a social choice rule for aggregating preferences elicited from surveys into a marginal adjustment of policy from the status quo. The mechanism is: (i) symmetric in its treatment of survey respondents; (ii) ordinal, using only the orientation of respondents' indifference surfaces; (iii) local, using only preferences in the neighborhood of current policy; and (iv) what we call "first-order strategy-proof," making the gains from misreporting preferences second order. The mechanism could be applied to guide policy based on how policy affects responses to subjective well-being surveys.

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Authors

Benjamin, Daniel J. (Cornell U)
Heffetz, Ori (Cornell U)
Kimball, Miles S. (U MI)
Szembrot, Nichole (Cornell U)

JEL Classifications

E61: Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
I31: General Welfare


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