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All Individuals May Be Made Worse Off under Any Nonwelfarist Principle


Louis Kaplow


Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Steven Shavell


Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

February 2002

Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 350

Abstract:     
Nonwelfarist principles - notably, deontological principles - are often advanced to guide moral decisions. The types of choices addressed by such principles typically seem, on their face, to involve conflicts of interests among individuals. Nevertheless, it can be demonstrated that any nonwelfarist principle will, in some circumstances, favor choices that make all individuals worse off. For a variety of reasons, this conclusion has important implications for moral theories that are understood to support nonwelfarist principles.

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Date posted: March 18, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Kaplow, Louis and Shavell, Steven, All Individuals May Be Made Worse Off under Any Nonwelfarist Principle (February 2002). Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 350. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=304385 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.304385

Contact Information

Louis Kaplow (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-4101 (Phone)
617-496-4880 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/facdir.php?id=32&show=bibliography
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Steven Shavell
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3668 (Phone)
617-496-2256 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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