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Prioritarian evaluation of well-being with an ordinal variable

Working Paper 2020-531


Additive social evaluation measures have been proposed and are commonly used to assess well-being with an ordinal variable. In this paper, we derive appropriate functional-form restrictions allowing additive social evaluation measures for ordinal variables to provide dif- ferent degrees of priority to those relatively worse-off. To assess the robustness of societal well-being comparisons to alternative choices of distribution-sensitive measures, we propose tractable stochastic dominance conditions for different degrees of priority.

Authors: Suman Seth, Gaston Yalonetzky.

Keywords: Ordinal variables, measurement of well-being, Hammond transfer, inequality aversion, stochastic dominance, prioritarianism.
JEL: I3, I31, D63.