Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 315–344 | Cite as

Welfarist evaluations of decision rules under interstate utility dependencies

  • Claus BeisbartEmail author
  • Stephan Hartmann
Open Access
Original Paper


We provide welfarist evaluations of decision rules for federations of states and consider models, under which the interests of people from different states are stochastically dependent. We concentrate on two welfarist standards, viz. that the expected average utility for a person in the federation be maximized or that the expected utilities for the different people be equal. We discuss an analytical result that characterizes the decision rule with maximum expected average utility, set up a class of models that display interstate dependencies and run simulations for different dependency scenarios in the European Union. We find that the results that Beisbart and Bovens (Soc Choice Welf 29:581–608, 2007) established for two types of models without interstate dependencies are fairly stable if interstate dependencies are switched on. There are exceptions, though: sometimes the way in which alternative decision rules shape the welfare distribution is significantly affected by such dependencies. These exceptions particularly include cases in which the interests of people from different states are partly anti-correlated.


European Union Decision Rule Small State Large State Vote Power 
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We are grateful for useful comments by two anonymous referees for “Social Choice and Welfare” and by a member of the editorial board. CB thanks the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh for support.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Philosophy and Political ScienceTU DortmundDortmundGermany
  2. 2.Center for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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