nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2005‒07‒03
25 papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. Effizienz als Leitbild der Wettbewerbspolitik: Für einen "more economic approach" By Dieter Schmidtchen
  2. Der "more economic approach" in der Wettbewerbspolitik By Dieter Schmidtchen
  3. Collective economic decisions and the discursive dilemma By Carl Andreas Claussen; Øistein Røisland
  4. Modelling the Entrepreneurial Space-Economy: an overview By Nijkamp, Peter; Wissen, Leo van
  5. On the substitution and complimentarity between telework and travel : a review and application By Graaff, Thomas de
  6. Research on corporate unbundling: A synthesis By Moschieri, Caterina; Mair, Johanna
  7. Strengthening agricultural research in Africa By Jones, Monty
  8. Science and poverty By Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Adato, Michelle; Haddad, Lawrence James; Hazell, Peter
  9. Women By Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Brown, Lynn R.; Feldstein, Hilary Sims; Haddad, Lawrence James; Peña, Christine
  10. A short history of French spirit of enterprise (from 1780 till date) (In French) By Hubert BONIN
  11. Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning: Fundamental Concepts for Theory and Practice By Sanchez, Ron
  12. Isomorphism, Isopraxism and Isonymism - Complementary or Competing Processes? By Erlingsdottír, Gudbjörg; Lindberg, Kajsa
  13. The Survival of the Unfittest: Delinquent corporations and the production of organisational legitimacy through symbolic-discursive fit By Svensson, Peter
  14. An Integrative Framework for Evolving A Socially Responsible Marketing Strategy By El-Ansary, Adel; Cerne, Annette
  15. Using Game Theory to Increase Students' Motivation to Learn Mathematics By Gura Ein-Ya
  16. When All is Said and Done, How Should You Play and What Should You Expect? By R. J. Aumann; J. H. Dreze
  17. Musings on Information and Knowledge By Robert J. Aumann
  18. Consciousness By R. J. Aumann
  19. Conditioning and the Sure-Thing Principle By Robert J. Aumann; Sergiu Hart; Motty Perry
  20. Neuroeconomic Foundations of Trust and Social Preferences By Ernst Fehr; Urs Fischbacher; University of Zurich
  21. The Economics of Altruistic Punishment and the Demise of Cooperation By Martijn Egas; Arno Riedl
  22. The Neuroeconomics of Mind Reading and Empathy By Tania Singer; Ernst Fehr
  23. Monetary Policy: From Theory to Practices By Thierry Warin
  24. Affirmative Action and Its Mythology By Roland G. Fryer, Jr.; Glenn C. Loury
  25. On Kolm's Use of Epistemic Counterfactuals in Social Choice Theory By John A. Weymark

  1. By: Dieter Schmidtchen (Universität des Saarlandes)
    Abstract: Effizienz als Leitbild der Wettbewerbspolitik: Für einen more economic approach" Die jüngsten Reformen im Europäischen Wettbewerbsrecht geben Anlaß, sich erneut mit Grundsatzfragen der Wettbewerbspolitik zu beschäftigen. Unter Rückgriff auf die moderne Wettbewerbstheorie, die Industrie- und die Neue Institutionenökonomik werden in diesem Paper die Grundlagen eines more economic approach" entworfen. Wettbewerb wird als Parallel- und Austauschprozeß begriffen, in dem Werte (social surplus) geschaffen und angeeignet werden. Allokative, produktionstechnische und innovative Ineffizienzen sind in diesem Wettbewerbskonzept Folge einer mangelnden Aneignung von Wertschöpfung. Konkret wird in diesem Paper vorgeschlagen, daß Wettbewerbsbehörden und Gerichte in allen Verfahren gegen Unternehmen und Unternehmensgruppen einen überzeugend begründeten Effizienzeinwand als Rechtfertigung für ein in traditioneller Sicht wettbewerbsbeschränkendes Verhalten zulassen. Der Vorschlag basiert auf einer partialanalytisch interpretierten Theorie des second-best"; bei ihr sind second-best-tradeoffs" ausschließlich auf den relevanten Markt bezogen. Um Anschuldigungen zu entkräften, sollten die Beschuldigten zweierlei nachweisen: Erstens, das beanstandete Verhalten ist eine Reaktion auf ein identifiziertes Marktversagen oder technische oder dynamische (Neuerungen betreffende) Ineffizienz im relevanten Markt. Zweitens, das beanstandete Verhalten steigert per Saldo die Wohlfahrt. Die Kartellbehörden hätten zwei Dinge zu prüfen: Erstens, behindert das beanstandete Verhalten in wesentlicher Weise spätere private oder staatliche Versuche, die Gründe für das Marktversagen, die technische oder dynamische Ineffizienz zu beseitigen? Zweitens, gibt es weniger stark gegen die Antitrust-Gesetze verstoßende Maßnahmen zur Erreichung derselben Wohlfahrtssteigerung? Wenn die Unternehmen ihre Argumente überzeugend dargelegt und die Kartellbehörden die beiden Fragen mit nein beantwortet haben, dann sollte das Verfahren eingestellt werden. Das Paper diskutiert auch die Vor- und Nachteile eines innermarktlichen second-best"- Ansatzes in der Wettbewerbspolitik und zeigt die Vorteile gegenüber einer Wettbewerbspolitik auf, die nur den Wettbewerb schützen will.
    Keywords: more economic approach, second-best tradeoff, Williamson-tradeoff, "Post-Chicago" antitrust policy, efficiency defense, property rights, transaction costs, perfect competition as full appropriation.,
    JEL: L40
  2. By: Dieter Schmidtchen (Universität des Saarlandes)
    Abstract: This article argues that it is time for antitrust policy to move beyond structural understandings of competition ("preserving competition") and into the realm of explicit welfare analysis. A "more economic approach" should reflect current economic thinking about competition, incentives and efficiency. Competition is defined in the paper as a process of creating and appropriating value (social surplus). Allocative, technical and innovative inefficiencies are viewed as fundamentally due to failures of capturing value. The paper argues that antitrust laws should recognize a defence for all private acts that restrain "competition" under the traditional antitrust analysis but advance total welfare. The proposed efficiency defense is, however, limited to intra-market second-best tradeoffs, i.e. tradeoffs involving market failures in the relevant market. The antitrust authorities should accept the defense if, first, the conduct will not substantially impair the ability of public or private actors subsequently to ameliorate the effects of the market failure; and if, second, there is no less restrictive alternative consistent with the antitrust laws that could achieve similar welfare gains. The paper also assesses the costs and benefits of implementing an intra-market second-best defense and argues that this approach provides better criteria for a workable antitrust policy than an antitrust standard based on protecting "competition".
    Keywords: more economic approach, second-best tradeoff, Williamson-tradeoff, "Post Chicago", antitrust policy, efficiency defense, property rights, transaction costs, perfect competition as full appropriation,
    JEL: L40
  3. By: Carl Andreas Claussen (Norges Bank); Øistein Røisland (Norges Bank)
    Abstract: Most economic decisions involve judgments. When decisions are taken collectively, various judgment aggregation problems may occur. Here we consider an aggregation problem called the "discursive dilemma", which is characterized by an inconsistency between the aggregate judgment on the premises for a conclusion and the aggregate judgment on the conclusion itself. It thus matter for the decision whether the group uses a premise- or a conclusion-based decisionmaking procedure. The current literature, primarily within jurisprudence, philosophy, and social choice, consider aggregation of qualitative judgments on propositions. Most economic decisions, however, involve quantitative judgments on economic variables. We develop a framework that is suitable for analyzing the relevance of the discursive dilemma for economic decisions. Assuming that decisions are reached either through majority voting or by averaging, we find that the dilemma cannot be ruled out, except under some restrictive assumptions about the relationship between the premise-variables and the conclusion.
    Keywords: Collective economic decisions, Judgement aggregation, Inconsistency
    JEL: D71 E60
    Date: 2005–06–29
  4. By: Nijkamp, Peter (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics); Wissen, Leo van
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to review recent contributions to the study of entrepreneurship and firm dynamics from a methodological and firm demographic perspective. Understanding the contemporary changes in business life requires a thorough understanding of structural changes in entrepreneurial behaviour and firm dynamics, both in space and in time. The spatial and temporal aspects of business life have in recent years received much attention, and a review is given here. The framework concept of the 'firm life course' is proposed in this article to integrate both dimensions. The firm life course represents the way firms organize their life path over time in sequences of critical events, decisions, and periods. The dimensions of time and space appear to be highly connected in business life. Not only is firm mobility increasing, but also are entrepreneurs increasingly acting as networkers. The emergence of virtual and dynamic networks of entrepreneurs calls for new methods of research of dealing with them. This article maps out some of the modern research trends in this domain.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; dynamics
    Date: 2004
  5. By: Graaff, Thomas de (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics)
    Abstract: This paper offers a review of the scientific evidence regarding the relation between ICT and travel in general and ICT and commuting in particular. It focuses on the issue of teleworking at home and ignores other interesting phenomena as teleworking centers. The conclusions can be summarized as follows. In the short run, ICT and commuting are to be regarded as weak substitutes, although the relation differs across population groups and parts of the day. If total travel is taken into account, then the relation becomes less clear. However, there also seems to be substitution between non-commute travel and teleworking. This indicates particular recommendations for both environmental and traffic policy. The results are further illustrated by an empirical application from the Netherlands.
    Keywords: ICT; travel; commuting; teleworking
    Date: 2004
  6. By: Moschieri, Caterina (IESE Business School); Mair, Johanna (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: Unbundling operations, understood as the parent company's disposal and sale of assets, facilities, product lines, subsidiaries, divisions and business units, are emerging as a central topic of research in several areas. Yet a synthesis is still lacking, and differences in the terminology have created confusion. This paper stimulates and facilitates future research by unpacking the nature of unbundling operations. We suggest that outcomes of unbundling may be mediated by variables, such as factors at process and management level, which have been greatly neglected in existing research. The paper builds a framework on antecedents, process and outcomes of unbundling by integrating empirical findings and theoretical contributions. Furthermore, it identifies gaps in the existing literature and offers suggestions for future research on unbundling.
    Keywords: Corporate strategy; restructuring; divestiture; divestment;
    Date: 2005–06–15
  7. By: Jones, Monty
    Abstract: "The current decline in per capita food production in Africa signals an urgent need to revitalize agricultural research. Accomplishing such a task will require addressing many issues, including demand-led approaches, accountability, building of critical mass, avoidance of duplication, sustainable financing, and capacity strengthening. This brief cannot address all these issues; instead it focuses on generating common Africa-wide goals and priorities and on collaboration for maximum impact, suggesting approaches for consideration by those responsible for African agricultural research policy and implementation." from Text
    Keywords: Sustainable agriculture ,Agricultural research Africa ,
    Date: 2004
  8. By: Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Adato, Michelle; Haddad, Lawrence James; Hazell, Peter
    Abstract: "Agricultural research has greatly increased the yields of important staple food crops, and for many people this has meant more food availability and trade opportunities. Yet many people in rural areas in developing countries still live in abject poverty. Therefore, policymakers, donors, and researchers are refocusing their priorities away from simply producing more food to making sure that agricultural research benefits the poor in particular. How can we ensure that new agricultural technologies are appropriate for the different groups of people who most need assistance? Furthermore, how can we assess whether these new technologies actually reduce poverty? This report provides valuable answers by synthesizing lessons learned from seven case studies from around the developing world. The studies show that measures of the direct impacts of new technologies on incomes and yields do not tell the whole story. Both economic and noneconomic factors (such as sources of vulnerability, gender roles, and the source of the disseminated technology) play an extremely important role in determining whether the poor adopt or benefit from a technology.... In addition, social, cultural, and economic factors all influence whether the poor receive direct and indirect benefits from new technologies. Therefore, it is crucial that impact assessments include a mix of disciplines and methods, and that researchers do not only focus on poverty-reducing impacts that are easy to measure. For the future, scientists and other decision makers designing new research programs need to understand all the social factors that will affect the uptake and impacts of technologies. They also need to understand poor people's strategies for managing risk and the importance and role of agriculture in their livelihood strategies." Authors' Preface
    Keywords: Poverty alleviation Developing countries ,Agricultural research ,Agricultural technology ,Impact assessment ,Gender issues ,
    Date: 2004
  9. By: Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Brown, Lynn R.; Feldstein, Hilary Sims; Haddad, Lawrence James; Peña, Christine
    Abstract: "This food policy report synthesizes current research about the roles that women play in ensuring food security in the developing world" P. v.
  10. By: Hubert BONIN
    Abstract: Pessimistic views among French economist, political and scholar opinion givers have often prevailed about the assessment of French economic competitiveness ; that might be explained by negative surveys of the ability of economic elites to adapt themselves to the changes of the environment of competition and of the productive and technological systems. Breakdowns of enterprise spirit could thus explain that periods of sluggishness be imposed to French growth and, globally, that backwardness had been endured when factors of progress were at stake. Our text reconstitutes the overall issues and, then, proceeds, alongside chronological periods, to a large scrutinizing of the validity of these assertions, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
    Keywords: enterprise, enterprise spirit, elites, entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, investment, competitiveness, development, Malthusianism
    JEL: N8 N83 N84 N6 M13
    Date: 2005
  11. By: Sanchez, Ron (Copenhagen Business School)
    Abstract: This paper investigates several issues regarding the nature, domain, conceptual foundations, and practical challenges of knowledge management and organizational learning. The paper first identifies and contrasts two fundamental philosophical orientations to knowledge management -- the personal knowledge orientation and the organizational knowledge orientation -- and illustrates the distinctive kinds of knowledge management practices that result from the two orientations. It then summarizes three essential organizational processes in knowledge management: (i) maintaining learning loops in all organizational processes, (ii) systematically disseminating knowledge throughout an organization, and (iii) applying knowledge wherever it can be used in an organization. A general model of organizational learning -- the Five Learning Cycles model -- is introduced to represent how individuals, groups, and the overall organization are linked in an organizational learning process. Key challenges in managing each of the Five Learning Cycles are discussed, and examples of appropriate managerial interventions are proposed for each learning cycle. Concluding comments suggest how knowledge management processes reflect a fundamental shift in management thinking and practice from traditional concepts of command and control to more contemporary concepts of facilitation and empowerment.
    Keywords: Knowledge management; Organizational learning; Learning cycles
    Date: 2005–04–04
  12. By: Erlingsdottír, Gudbjörg (Department of Business Administration, School of Economics and Management, Lund University); Lindberg, Kajsa (GRI, School of Economics & Commercial Law)
    Abstract: New institutional theory has been criticized, for describing institutionalization as a static qualitative state rather than a process. In this paper we provide an extended understanding of the process of institutionalization by replacing the mechanical concept of diffusion by the concept of translation and an analytical model of “travel of ideas”. Analyzing the field material from three cases of translation of ideas in the Swedish health care sector we have traced not only various homogenizing but also heterogenizing processes which reproduce organizational ideas, models, and practices. In the paper we thus suggest and discuss how name, form, and practice can be seen as different expressions of an idea through which organizations can be homogenized or heterogenized in an institutional process.
    Keywords: isomorphism; isopraxism; isonymism; insitutionalization; translation of ideas; organizational change
    Date: 2005–04–12
  13. By: Svensson, Peter (Department of Business Administration, School of Economics and Management, Lund University)
    Abstract: The survival of so called ‘delinquent organisations’ is the topic of this article. A delinquent organisation should here be conveived of as an organisation engaged in activities regarded by the public and stakeholders as harmful, hazardous or even lethal. Examples of delinquent organisations comprise producers of tobacco or warfare material. It has been recognised in the literature on organisations that the creation and maintenance of organisational legitimacy, i.e. the degree of congruence between the organisation’s deeds and the values, norms and expectations in society. This article aims at bringing into the limelight the symbolic-discursive aspects of organisational legitimacy, that is to say the construction of a fit between the text (written and spoken) produced by a particular organisation and the cultural and ideological environment wherein this organisation operates. Drawing upon ideas from discourse theory, the tobacco producer Swedish Match is subjected to a close up study. More specifically, the empirical case selected is that of a lawsuit filed against Swedish Match in 1997 and the related textual responses produced and distributed in public media by the organisation. I present the argument that, in order to construct a symbolic-discursive fit, Swedish Match has to navigate in between two strong ideological poles: a social democratic heritage and an emerging corpus of neo-liberal ideas, two forces that provide both the rhetorical means for and restraint of the construction of organisational legitimacy.
    Keywords: Organisational legitimacy; corporate reputation; delinquent corporation; Swedish Match; tobacco industry
    Date: 2005–05–02
  14. By: El-Ansary, Adel (Donna L. Harper Professor of Marketing); Cerne, Annette (Department of Business Administration, School of Economics and Management, Lund University)
    Abstract: The rise in the strategic importance of maintaining positive stakeholder relationships and the need to protect corporate brand reputation has moved the academic and business debates of ethical issues concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR) from being viewed as paternalistic philanthropy to an integral part of business strategy (Raynard et al., 2002; Husted et al., 2000). Subsequently, the integration of CSR issues into business and marketing strategy transitioned from an option to a requirement for doing business. In this paper, the authors suggest a framework for organising the alternative approaches for the integration of CSR into corporate and marketing strategy to evolve socially responsible corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate branding. Towards this objective, we examine these alternative approaches, present a number of propositions to advance notions about the relationships between corporate strategy, marketing strategy, market orientation and stakeholder oriented CSR, and suggest a research agenda for evolving metrics to measure outcomes of alternatives for evolving a CSR oriented marketing strategy.
    Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); CSR Integration; Corporate Strategy; Marketing Strategy; CSR-Oriented Image/Identity/Branding; Corporate Branding
    Date: 2005–06–13
  15. By: Gura Ein-Ya
    Abstract: This paper reports an attempt to teach game theory in order to increase students' motivation to learn mathematics. A course in game theory was created in order to introduce students to new mathematical content presented in a different way.
    Date: 2005–02
  16. By: R. J. Aumann; J. H. Dreze
    Abstract: Modern game theory was born in 1928, when John von Neumann published his Minimax Theorem. This theorem ascribes to all two-person zero-sum games a value–what rational players may expect–and optimal strategies–how they should play to achieve that expectation. Seventyseven years later, strategic game theory has not gotten beyond that initial point, insofar as the basic questions of value and optimal strategies are concerned. Equilibrium theories do not tell players how to play and what to expect; even when there is a unique Nash equilibrium, it it is not at all clear that the players “should” play this equilibrium, nor that they should expect its payoff. Here, we return to square one: abandon all ideas of equilibrium and simply ask, how should rational players play, and what should they expect. We provide answers to both questions, for all n-person games in strategic form.
    Date: 2005–03
  17. By: Robert J. Aumann
    Abstract: An invited contribution to a symposium on “Information and Knowledge in Economics,” to appear in Econ Journal Watch. Topics discussed include the distinction between information and knowledge; awareness; logical omniscience; the cost of calculation; semantic and syntactic models of knowledge, and the equivalence between them; and common knowledge of the model. Finally, some aspects of the symposium contributions of Ken Binmore, Jim Friedman, and Eric Rasmusen are discussed.
    Date: 2005–03
  18. By: R. J. Aumann
    Abstract: Consciousness is the last great frontier of science. Here we discuss what it is, how it differs fundamentally from other scientific phenomena, what adaptive function it serves, and the difficulties in trying to explain how it works. The emphasis is on the adaptive function.
    Date: 2005–05
  19. By: Robert J. Aumann; Sergiu Hart; Motty Perry
    Abstract: This paper undertakes a careful examination of the concept of conditional probability and its use. The ideas are then applied to resolve a conceptual puzzle related to Savage's "Sure-Thing Principle."
    Date: 2005–06
  20. By: Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich and IZA Bonn); Urs Fischbacher (University of Zurich); University of Zurich (University of Zurich)
    Abstract: This paper discusses recent neuroeconomic evidence related to other-regarding behaviors and the decision to trust in other people’s other-regarding behavior. This evidence supports the view that people derive nonpecuniary utility (i) from mutual cooperation in social dilemma (SD) games and (ii) from punishing unfair behavior. Thus, mutual cooperation and the punishment of free riders in SD games is not irrational, but better understood as rational behavior of people with corresponding social preferences. We also report the results of a recent study that examines the impact of the neuropeptide Oxytocin (OT) on trusting and trustworthy behavior in a sequential SD. Animal studies have identified Oxytocin as a hormone that induces prosocial approach behavior, suggesting that it may also affect prosocial behavior in humans. Indeed, the study shows that subjects given Oxytocin exhibit much more trusting behavior, suggesting that OT has a direct impact on certain aspects of subjects’ social preferences. Interestingly, however, although Oxytocin affects trusting behavior, it has no effect on subjects’ trustworthiness.
    Keywords: social preferences, foundations of trust, neuroeconomic
    JEL: A13 C90
    Date: 2005–06
  21. By: Martijn Egas (IBED, University of Amsterdam); Arno Riedl (CREED, University of Amsterdam, Tinbergen Institute and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Explaining the evolution and maintenance of cooperation among unrelated individuals is one of the fundamental problems in biology and the social sciences. Recent experimental evidence suggests that altruistic punishment is an important mechanism to maintain cooperation among humans. In this paper we explore the boundary conditions for altruistic punishment to maintain cooperation by systematically varying the cost and impact of punishment, using a subject pool which extends beyond the standard student population. We find that the economics of altruistic punishment lead to the demise of cooperation when punishment is relatively expensive and/or has low impact. Our results indicate that the 'decision to punish' comes from an amalgam of emotional response and cognitive costbenefit analysis. Additionally, earnings are lowest when punishment promotes cooperation, suggesting that the scope for altruistic punishment as a means to maintain cooperation is limited.
    Keywords: altruistic punishment, collective action, public goods, internet experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 C93 D70 H41
    Date: 2005–06
  22. By: Tania Singer (Functional Imaging Laboratory,University College London); Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: The most fundamental solution concepts in Game Theory - Nash equilibrium, backward induction, and iterated elimination of dominated strategies - are based on the assumption that people are capable of predicting others' actions. These concepts require people to be able to view the game from the other players’ perspectives, i.e. to understand others’ motives and beliefs. Economists still know little about what enables people to put themselves into others’ shoes and how this ability interacts with their own preferences and beliefs. Social neuroscience provides insights into the neural mechanism underlying our capacity to represent others' intentions, beliefs, and desires, referred to as "Theory of Mind" or "mentalizing", and the capacity to share the feelings of others, referred to as "empathy". We summarize the major findings about the neural basis of mentalizing and empathizing and discuss some implications for economics.
    Keywords: neuroeconomics, mind reading, empathy
    JEL: A10 C90
    Date: 2005–06
  23. By: Thierry Warin
    Abstract: The paper proposes an overview of the literature on monetary policy. It shows the influence of the debates in the theoretical literature on the actual implementation of policies, as well a the counter effect. The European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is largely studies a an exampe of this counter effect with regard to the study of the credibility concept in an open economy setting.
    JEL: E50 E52 E58
    Date: 2005–06
  24. By: Roland G. Fryer, Jr.; Glenn C. Loury
    Abstract: For more than three decades, critics and supporters of affirmative action have fought for the moral high ground ­ through ballot initiatives and lawsuits, in state legislatures, and in varied courts of public opinion. The goal of this paper is to show the clarifying power of economic reasoning to dispel some myths and misconceptions in the racial affirmative action debates. We enumerate seven commonly held (but mistaken) views one often encounters in the folklore about affirmative action (affirmative action may involve goals and timelines, but definitely not quotas, e.g.). Simple economic arguments reveal these seven views to be more myth than fact.
    JEL: J7
    Date: 2005–07
  25. By: John A. Weymark (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: Serge Kolm's "epistemic counterfactual principle" says that a social choice only needs to be made from the actual feasible set of alternatives given the actual preference profile, but it must be justified by the choices that would have been made in appropriate counterfactual choice situations. Kolm's principle does not identify the relevant counterfactuals. In this article, it is argued that the appropriate counterfactuals to justify an impartial social choice are all of the choice situations that a moral agent behind a veil of ignorance might think is the actual choice situation outside the veil.
    Keywords: Arrovian social choice, counterfactual choice, veil of ignorance, impartial observer, universal prescriptivism
    JEL: B40 D71
    Date: 2005–06

This nep-hpe issue is ©2005 by Andy Denis. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.