Document Type

Report

Publication Date

3-1985

Number

151

Abstract

This essay addresses four questions — 1) Are Pareto Efficient outcomes desirable? 2) Are they efficient? 3) Is Pareto Efficiency a useful concept? 4) Is it useful for public policy study? I will explore these issues by looking at effects of (a) differ ences in persons' goals, (b) preferences for means used to attain goals, (c) limiting resources, (d) externalities, (e) inter-personal compari sons, (f) political contributions, (g) merit goods, (h) universal hedonism, (i) sacred values, (j) concern for equity, (k) cardinality vs. ordinality of utility and social welfare functions, and (^) theory of second best. One's answers to these four questions depend upon one's beliefs (i.e., one's perceptions of what is) and upon one's values (i.e., conception of what ought to be).