Incomplete Social Contracts

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Incomplete Social Contracts

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Title: Incomplete Social Contracts
Author: Bolton, Patrick; Aghion, Philippe

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Aghion, Philippe, and Patrick Bolton. 2003. Incomplete social contracts. Journal of the European Economic Association 1(1): 38-67.
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Abstract: There is a long normative ‘Social Contract’ tradition that attempts to characterize ex-post income inequalities that are agreeable to all ‘behind a veil of ignorance.’ This paper takes a similar normative approach to characterize social decision-making procedures. It is shown that quite generally some form of majority-voting is preferred to unanimity ‘behind a veil of ignorance’ whenever society faces deadweight costs in making compensating transfers. Deviations from unanimity (or ex-post Pareto optimality) are exante efficient to the extent that they economize on costly compensating transfers. Put another way, the optimal decision rule trades off the benefits of minority protection and those from greater flexibility.
Published Version: doi:10.1162/154247603322256765
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:4554123

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [6463]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University
 
 

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