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A Course in Microeconomic Theory$
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David M. Kreps

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691202754

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691202754.001.0001

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Social choice and efficiency

Social choice and efficiency

(p.149) Chapter Five Social choice and efficiency
A Course in Microeconomic Theory

David M. Kreps


This chapter evaluates the theory of social choice. The theory of social choice is concerned with the selection of some social outcome that affects a number of individuals, when those individuals have diverse and conflicting preferences. The chapter characterizes desirable properties of the outcome that is to be selected, properties that usually involve notions of efficiency and equity. In some cases, those properties are insufficient to fix on a single social outcome, but instead restrict attention to some subset of the feasible outcomes. Adding more properties can sometimes pin down a single social outcome that has all the desired attributes. And in some contexts, there is now a way to satisfy simultaneously all the properties thought to be desirable.

Keywords:   social choice, social outcome, consumer preferences, efficiency, equity, conflicting preferences

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