Empirical Social Choice: Questionnaire-Experimental Studies on Distributive Justice

Overview

Since Aristotle, many different theories of distributive justice have been proposed, by philosophers as well as social scientists. The typical approach within social choice theory is to assess these theories in an axiomatic way – most of the time the reader is confronted with abstract reasoning and logical deductions. This book shows that empirical insights are necessary if one wants to apply any theory of justice in the real world. It does so by confronting the main theories of distributive justice with data ...

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Overview

Since Aristotle, many different theories of distributive justice have been proposed, by philosophers as well as social scientists. The typical approach within social choice theory is to assess these theories in an axiomatic way – most of the time the reader is confronted with abstract reasoning and logical deductions. This book shows that empirical insights are necessary if one wants to apply any theory of justice in the real world. It does so by confronting the main theories of distributive justice with data from (mostly) questionnaire experiments. The book starts with an extensive discussion on why empirical social choice makes sense and how it should be done. It then presents various experimental results relating to theories of distributive justice, including the Rawlsian equity axiom, Harsanyi's version of utilitarianism, utilitarianism with a floor, responsibility-sensitive egalitarianism, the claims problem and fairness in health.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is well-written and accessible, making it suitable for a large number of readers. Graduate students will find the book an ideal starting point for theses on the subject, and parts of the book may be used to introduce undergraduate students to the subtleties of normative theories since they will be stimulated by how people like themselves perceive the concepts."
Social Choice and Welfare
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107013940
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Wulf Gaertner is Professor of Economics at the University of Osnabrück. He is also a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

Erik Schokkaert is Full Professor and Director of the Centre for Economics and Ethics at the Catholic University of Leuven.

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Table of Contents

List of figures; List of tables; 1. Introduction; 2. Why and how?; 3. Traditional questions; 4. Fairness; 5. Fairness in health; Final remarks; References; Index.

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