The Impossibility of a Paretian (Il)liberal. A Historical Review Around Sen’s Liberalism (1970-1996)

Author/s Valentina Erasmo
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/1 Language English
Pages 26 P. 91-116 File size 176 KB
DOI 10.3280/SPE2023-001004
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This paper provides a historical review of the two main debates around Sen’s liberalism between the Seventies and the Nineties since his "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal2 (1970). The first debat was published in the Journal of Political Economy and included several contributions, such as those of Hillinger and Lapham (1971), Sen’s reply to Hillinger and Lapham (1971) and Ng (1971). The second de- bate appeared in Analyse & Kritik and includes the contributions of Buchanan (1996), and Mueller (1996), along with Sen’s reply (1996). This analysis is histori- cally relevant because it offers the opportunity to explore both the evolution of the main critiques on: Sen’s liberalism and Sen’s replies within these 25 years. The most important observation of this paper is that these different perspectives, elaborated in different historical moments, reached the same conclusion, namely that Sen’s liber- alism is rather "illiberal".

Keywords: individual preferences, liberalism, rights, social choice, social welfare function.

Jel codes: B00, B21, B31

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Valentina Erasmo, The Impossibility of a Paretian (Il)liberal. A Historical Review Around Sen’s Liberalism (1970-1996) in "HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY" 1/2023, pp 91-116, DOI: 10.3280/SPE2023-001004