Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 515–519 | Cite as

Empirical social choice: questionnaire-experimental studies on distributive justice, by Wulf Gaertner and Erick Schokkaert

  • Michele BernasconiEmail author
Book Review

The use of imaginary experiments to illustrate the appeal of normative principles is an established practice in ethics and theories of distributive justice. To cite one recent example, Nobel laureate Sen (2009) begins with a simple story in which a flute is assigned to one of three children depending on whether utilitarianism, libertarianism, or egalitarianism is chosen as the rule of justice. Despite the very different approaches and questions of interest for which imaginary stories have been used in the social choice literature, a common feature of both the theoretical and critical developments in the field has for centuries been the idea that resolutions to thought situations should be discussed only within the profession and only using introspection.

However, the book by Wulf Gaertner and Erik Schokkaert embraces a more recent literature that challenges this perspective, taking the view that the opinions of those outside the profession may be useful in discussing even subtle...


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di EconomiaUniversità di VeneziaVenetiaItaly

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