Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Mause I 271
Welfare Economics/Mueller: for the establishment of a welfare function it is necessary to assume cardinal and also individual benefit measures. (1)
Problem: these requirements for social welfare functions are more demanding and therefore less realistic than those raised by other microeconomic theory, See Hands (2)
Vs: some authors argue that the results of empirical happiness research can be used to construct cardinal and interpersonal comparable utility measures. (3)(4)
VsVs: in practice, there are several reasons against this approach, including in particular political manipulability and the possibility of a strategic response to corresponding surveys. (5)
Solution: the theory of optimal fiscal policy has always been based on simplistic assumptions that significantly reduce the complexity of the analysis. For example, the assumption of identical benefit functions for all members of the population. Then one can concentrate more on the observable distribution of goods.


1, Dennis C. Mueller, Public choice III. Cambridge 2003, S. 565-567.
2.Wade D. Hands, Paul Samuelson and revealed preference theory. History of Political Economy 46, (1) 2014, S.85– 116.
3. Ng, Yew-Kwang. A case for happiness, cardinalism and interpersonal comparability. Economic Journal 107, 1997. S. 1848– 1858.
4. Norbert Hirschauer, Mira Lehberger, und Oliver Musshoff. Happiness and utility in economic thought – Or: What can we learn from happiness research for public policy analysis and public policy making? Social Indicators Research 121, 2015. S.647– 674.
5. Bruno S. Frey und Alois Stutzer. The use of happiness research for public policy. Social Choice and Welfare 38 (4), 2011. S. 659– 674.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconMuell I
Dennis C. Mueller
Public Choice III Cambridge 2003

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018


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