The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

252. L. Kaplow and S. Shavell, The Conflict between Notions of Fairness and the Pareto Principle, 3/99; subsequently published in American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 1, Nos. 1 & 2, Fall 1999, 63-77.

Abstract: Most legal academics and policymakers believe that weight should be accorded to conceptions of fairness in evaluating legal policies. We explain, however, that adherence to any notion of fairness will sometimes lead to a conflict with the Pareto principle. That is, to endorse a notion of fairness is to endorse the view that it can be desirable to adopt a legal rule that will reduce the well-being of every person in society.

252: PDF