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The tyranny puzzle in welfare economics: an empirical investigation

Cowell, Frank and Fleurbaey, Marc and Tungodden, Bertil (2010) The tyranny puzzle in welfare economics: an empirical investigation. Public Economics Programme Papers, 05. STICERD, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: 05


We address a puzzle in welfare economics – the possibility that rational people may be simultaneously against two apparently con‡icting forms of “tyranny.” In fact the two types of tyranny can be reconciled but at the possible cost of con‡ict with other standard welfare principles. We examine whether such con‡icts do arise using a questionnaire-experimental study. Our study shows that both tyrannies are rejected by a majority of the parti- cipants, and in many cases also pose a practical problem in moral reasoning.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The Authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Economics
Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)
Date Deposited: 03 May 2011 11:01
Last Modified: 03 May 2011 11:01

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