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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics: Vol. 5 No. 3 (August 2013)

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Behavioral Welfare Economics and Redistribution

Article Citation

Fleurbaey, Marc, and Erik Schokkaert. 2013. "Behavioral Welfare Economics and Redistribution." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 5(3): 180-205.

DOI: 10.1257/mic.5.3.180

Abstract

Behavioral economics has shaken the view that individuals have well-defined, consistent and stable preferences. This raises a challenge for welfare economics, which takes as a key postulate that individual preferences should be respected. We argue, in agreement with Bernheim (2009) and Bernheim and Rangel (2009) that behavioral economics is compatible with consistency of partial preferences, and explore how the Bernheim-Rangel approach can be extended to deal with distributive issues. We revisit some key results of the theory in a framework with partial preferences and show how one can derive partial orderings of individual and social situations.

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Authors

Fleurbaey, Marc (Princeton U)
Schokkaert, Erik (Catholic U Leuven and CORE, Catholic U Louvain)

JEL Classifications

D03: Behavioral Economics: Underlying Principles
D63: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
D71: Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
H23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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