Individual irrationality and social welfare

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Abstract

Individual preferences inconsistent with personal welfare caused neither by ignorance nor by a positive consideration for the welfare of others are defined as (welfare) irrational. Sources of irrationality (rigid adherence to moral principles, excessive fear of danger, excessive tempetation of pleasure, revenge, inertia, 'faulty telescopic faculty', the fallacy of diminishing marginal utility of utility, etc.) are discussed. An evolutionary explanation of irrationality is suggested and some implications for individual decision and social policy indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1989

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