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Welfarist evaluations of decision rules under interstate utility dependencies

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Claus Beisbart.

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Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Beisbart, C., Hartmann, S. Welfarist evaluations of decision rules under interstate utility dependencies. Soc Choice Welf 34, 315–344 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00355-009-0399-z

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Keywords

  • European Union
  • Decision Rule
  • Small State
  • Large State
  • Vote Power