Decide As You Would With Full Information! An Argument Against Ex Ante Pareto

In Ole Norheim, Samia Hurst, Nir Eyal & Dan Wikler (eds.), Inequalities in Health: Concepts, Measures, and Ethics. Oxford University Press (2013)
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Abstract

Policy-makers must sometimes choose between an alternative which has somewhat lower expected value for each person, but which will substantially improve the outcomes of the worst off, or an alternative which has somewhat higher expected value for each person, but which will leave those who end up worst off substantially less well off. The popular ex ante Pareto principle requires the choice of the alternative with higher expected utility for each. We argue that ex ante Pareto ought to be rejected because it conflicts with the requirement that, when possible, one ought to decide as one would with full information. We apply our argument in an analysis of US policy on screening for breast cancer. -/- .

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Author Profiles

Marc Fleurbaey
Princeton University
Alex Voorhoeve
London School of Economics

Citations of this work

An Intrapersonal Addition Paradox.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Ethics 129 (2):309-343.
Why Punitive Intent Matters.Nathan Hanna - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):426-435.
Ex Ante and Ex Post Contractualism: A Synthesis.Jussi Suikkanen - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (1):77-98.
Prioritarianism: A Response to Critics.Matthew D. Adler & Nils Holtug - 2019 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 18 (2):101-144.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Weighing Lives.John Broome - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Can We Harm and Benefit in Creating?Elizabeth Harman - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):89–113.

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