Gödel, Kaplow, Shavell: Consistency and Completeness in Social Decisionmaking
University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for Law and Economics (ACLE); Tinbergen Institute
Chicago-Kent Law Review, Vol. 79, No. 2, pp. 497-520, 2004
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 03-55
The recent debate on what criteria ought to guide social decisionmaking has focused on consistency: it has been argued that criteria contradicting one another - namely, welfare and fairness - should not be simultaneously employed in order for policy assessment to be consistent. In this article, I raise the related problem of completeness - that is, the question of whether or not a set of consistent criteria is capable of providing answers to all social decision problems. If not, as I suggest might be the case, then the only way to decide otherwise undecidable issues is to simultaneously employ both welfare and fairness, which implies a certain degree of inconsistency within the system.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: completeness, consistencey, efficiency, fairness,values
JEL Classification: A12, A13, K00Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 19, 2003
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