Public Choice

, Volume 179, Issue 1–2, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Social welfare with net utilities

  • Jon X. EguiaEmail author
  • Dimitrios Xefteris


We consider a society facing a binary choice, in an environment in which differences in utility are comparable across individuals. In such an environment, net utility is the difference between the utility that an individual attains from one alternative, and the utility she attains from the other alternative. A social welfare ordering is a preference relation over net utility profiles. We show that a social welfare ordering satisfies a collection of standard normative axioms if and only if it is representable by a collective utility function defined by the sums of a given power of net individual utilities.


Cardinal utility Social welfare Collective utility function 

JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.University of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

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