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Taking alleged dictatorship more seriously: Rejoinder to Fried

The Original Article was published on 02 July 2013


Fried (in Public Choise, this issue, 2013) claims that Quesada (in Public Choise 130:395–400, 2007) is wrong in showing that the dictator in a dictatorial social welfare function does not necessarily enjoy absolute decision power. This reply revisits, and illustrates by means of an example, the framework where Quesada’s result is obtained. It is argued that Fried’s counterfactual analysis conducted to invalidate Quesada’s conclusion relies on untenable presumptions: (i) that the rules to identify the values of a social welfare function say something about how these values must have been obtained; and (ii) that counterfactual analysis can be conducted in an environment where causes and effects cannot be unequivocally established.

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Many thanks to Greg Fried, for his interest in Quesada (2007), and to Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, Associate Editor of Public Choice, for the invitation to write this rejoinder, which has also been helpful to try to clarify the framework in Quesada (2007). Many thanks as well to the Editor in Chief, William F. Shughart II, for amending embarrassing mistakes.

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Correspondence to Antonio Quesada.

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This reply refers to the comment available at doi:10.1007/s11127-013-0092-8.

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Quesada, A. Taking alleged dictatorship more seriously: Rejoinder to Fried. Public Choice 158, 253–259 (2014).

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  • Social welfare function
  • Dictator
  • Decision power
  • Counterfactual analysis