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Coalition Decisions and Simple Majority Rule

August 1, 2008

We study simple majority rule from a perspective of coalitional decision makings. Four attractive properties each linking decisions by a group to decisions by its various coalitions are introduced, and are used for characterizing simple majority rule. Our characterization result provides an alternative to that of May (1952). Working Paper 08-14

On Dominance and Context-dependence in Multi-attribute Decisions

August 1, 2008

Neoclassical economists, using a competitive demand/supply model of labor markets, typically conclude a legislated minimum wage is harmful to economic efficiency and social welfare. The major theoretical counter-attack by proponents of a minimum wage is to argue that low-wage labor markets are better modeled as monopsonistic. This paper develops and formalizes a second theoretical defense for a legal minimum wage law. This defense rests on the concept of the social cost of labor, as originally popularized by Sidney and Beatrice Webb and then further developed by American institutional economists. This analysis is unique in that it continues to use the competitive demand/supply model but nonetheless demonstrates that a legislated minimum wage often simultaneously increases both economic efficiency and fairness, unlike the neoclassical prediction. Working Paper 08-13

On procedures for measuring deprivation and living standards of societies in a multi-attribute framework

December 1, 2007

When a society's overall deprivation or living standard is assessed in a multi-attribute framework, the following procedure is often used. First, for each attribute, a summary index is constructed to reflect a society's performance in relation to this attribute. Then, an indicator of the overall performance of the society in terms of all the attributes together is constructed. This paper discusses a difficulty associated with this procedure. We show that the difficulty lies in its inability to reconcile two highly attractive ethical principles - the first reflecting a requirement of treating individuals symmetrically and the second reflecting a requirement for equity-sensitivity. This problem implies that this widely-used procedure must lead to possibly untenable conclusions, and that it is necessary to adopt alternative procedures. The alternative procedure must permit describing a society's overall deprivation or living standard as an aggregate of the comprehensive deprivations or living standards experienced by the individuals in the society. Working Paper 08-02

Conceptions of Individual Rights and Freedom in Welfare Economics: A Re-examination

October 1, 2007

This paper examines the literature in welfare economics with a focus on individual rights and freedom, two important components in welfare economics. The paper discusses conceptions of rights and freedom intuitively and presents a critical examination of the existing literature. Working Paper 07-33

Axiomatic Bargaining Theory on Opportunity Assignments

November 1, 2005

This paper discusses issues of axiomatic bargaining problems over opportunity assignments. The fair arbitrator uses the principle of "equal opportunity" for all players to make the recommendation on re- source allocations. A framework in such a context is developed and several classical solutions to standard bargaining problems are reformulated and axiomatically characterized. Working Paper 06-48