Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reviews the various ways in which individual responsibility has been incorporated in the definition of social rankings or allocation rules, in the theory of social choice as well as in the theory of fair allocation. It stresses the concepts underlying the different approaches. In particular, the literature reveals a deep opposition between two conceptions of responsibility: "liberal" one which sees responsibility as eliminating the need for redistribution and a "utilitarian" one which considers that responsibility justifies adopting an inequality-neutral social objective. There is a second opposition, between the compensation principle that focuses on neutralizing the inequalities for which the individuals are not responsible and the reward principles which focus on the consequences of responsibility. Combining these two divides yields four distinct ways of defining a responsibilitycatering social objective (or allocation rule).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Rational and Social Choice
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191710506
ISBN (Print)9780199290420
StatePublished - May 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Compensation
  • Egalitarianism
  • Fairness
  • Opportunity
  • Responsibility
  • Reward


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