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Social Welfare Function

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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > S > Social Welfare Function
 
Social Welfare Function

A general approach used to describe social welfare.

(Benjamin, Dwayne. Class Lecture.  PPG 1002H Microeconomics for Policy Analysis, University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance, 2008.)

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A social welfare function describes a set of “social preferences” defined over all possible allocations in the economy. This type of aggregating function ranks different allocations depending on individual preferences and utilities.
Assumptions and arbitrary value judgments about equality are required to devise social welfare functions. In practice, evaluating social outcomes requires considerable flexibility. For purposes of policy, social welfare functions are usually specified in terms of observable outcomes and indicators of individual welfare, such as per capital income or consumption.
     
Social Welfare Function

A general approach used to describe social welfare.

(Benjamin, Dwayne. Class Lecture.  PPG 1002H Microeconomics for Policy Analysis, University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance, 2008.)

------------------------

A social welfare function describes a set of “social preferences” defined over all possible allocations in the economy. This type of aggregating function ranks different allocations depending on individual preferences and utilities.
Assumptions and arbitrary value judgments about equality are required to devise social welfare functions. In practice, evaluating social outcomes requires considerable flexibility. For purposes of policy, social welfare functions are usually specified in terms of observable outcomes and indicators of individual welfare, such as per capital income or consumption.

Approved for glossaryposting by Ben Eisen on January 2, 2011


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© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance