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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya SenVolume I: Ethics, Welfare, and Measurement$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.001.0001

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Welfare Economics and Giving for Development *

Welfare Economics and Giving for Development *

Chapter:
(p.489) Chapter 26 Welfare Economics and Giving for Development*
Source:
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen
Author(s):

A. B. Atkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.003.0027

Giving for development provides an interesting case study in the application of welfare economics. Giving for development is modest in total amount, but it is one of the few direct ways in which individuals reveal information relevant to the properties of the social welfare function to be applied to global redistribution. Where individuals themselves are willing to make transfers, how should this be taken into account in the social welfare function? The chapter first examines individual motives for giving, turning to the specific purpose of development in the second section. It then considers how far these motives are welfarist. The fourth section examines the implications for the social welfare function of individual altruism towards people in poor countries. If individuals are non-welfarist in their concerns, should the state continue to adopt a welfarist social welfare function? The final section addresses explicitly the geographical dimension, and the fact that the social welfare is a national social welfare function, which has to take into account the limited ‘sphere of control’ of national governments.

Keywords:   welfare economics, giving, development, social welfare function, global redistribution, welfarist motives, individual altruism

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