Working Paper No. 04-52:
The Unsolvable Dilemma of a Paretian Policymaker


Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci, Nuna Garoupa

Date Posted: 2004

Abstract (below)
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In this paper, we argue that social decisionmaking is subject to a fundamental conflict between consistency and completeness. We show that a consistent welfarist method of policy assessment, that is, one that never violates the Pareto principle, may be incomplete in the sense of being incapable of providing a solution to important social welfare problems.