Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 739–748 | Cite as

Social choice with independent subgroup utility scales

  • Anna B. Khmelnitskaya
  • John A. Weymark


In this article, the kinds of utility comparisons that can be made may differ in distinct population subgroups. Within each subgroup, utility is either ordinally or cardinally measurable. Levels and differences of utility may or may not be interpersonally comparable within a subgroup. No utility comparisons are possible between subgroups. Given these informational assumptions, it is shown that any continuous social welfare ordering that satisfies the weak Pareto principle only depends on the utilities of one of the subgroups. The class of social welfare orderings consistent with these assumptions is determined by the scale type of the dictatorial subgroup.


Social Welfare Social Choice Distinct Population Scale Type Population Subgroup 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna B. Khmelnitskaya
    • 1
  • John A. Weymark
    • 2
  1. 1.St. Petersburg Institute for Economics and Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1 Tchaikovsky st., 191187 St. Petersburg, Russia (e-mail:
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA (e-mail:

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