A theory of fairness and social welfare

Marc Fleurbaey, François Maniquet

Research output: Book/ReportBook

147 Scopus citations


The definition and measurement of social welfare have been a vexed issue for the past century. This book makes a constructive, easily applicable proposal and suggests how to evaluate the economic situation of a society in a way that gives priority to the worse-off and that respects each individual's preferences over his or her own consumption, work, leisure, and so on. This approach resonates with the current concern to go “beyond the GDP” in the measurement of social progress. Compared to technical studies in welfare economics, this book emphasizes constructive results rather than paradoxes and impossibilities, and shows how one can start from basic principles of efficiency and fairness and end up with concrete evaluations of policies. Compared to more philosophical treatments of social justice, this book is more precise about the definition of social welfare and reaches conclusions about concrete policies and institutions only after a rigorous derivation from clearly stated principles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages294
ISBN (Electronic)9780511851971
ISBN (Print)9780521887427
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance


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