The Conflict between Notions of Fairness and the Pareto Principle
19 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 1999
Date Written: Fall 1999
Most legal academics and policymakers believe that notions of fairness should be accorded positive weight in evaluating legal policies. We explain, however, that ascribing importance to any notion of fairness (other than one concerned solely with the distribution of income) will sometimes lead to a conflict with the Pareto principle. That is, to endorse a notion of fairness is to endorse the view that it can be desirable to adopt a legal rule that will reduce the well-being of every person in society.
JEL Classification: K00, D63, H43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation