+7 495 989 9610, 9am6pm (GMT+3), Monday – Friday
ИД «Финансы и кредит»






Economic Analysis: Theory and Practice

Assessment criteria for aggregate social welfare

Vol. 19, Iss. 12, DECEMBER 2020

Received: 21 September 2020

Received in revised form: 12 October 2020

Accepted: 28 October 2020

Available online: 25 December 2020


JEL Classification: D60, D61

Pages: 2358–2371


Moskal'onov S.A. Ulyanovsk State University (USU), Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation

ORCID id: not available

Subject. The article addresses the history of development and provides the criticism of existing criteria for aggregate social welfare (on the simple exchange economy (the Edgeworth box) case).
Objectives. The purpose is to develop a unique classification of criteria to assess the aggregate social welfare.
Methods. The study draws on methods of logical and mathematical analysis.
Results. The paper considers strong, strict and weak versions of the Pareto, Kaldor, Hicks, Scitovsky, and Samuelson criteria, introduces the notion of equivalence and constructs orderings by Pareto, Kaldor, Hicks, Scitovsky, and Samuelson. The Pareto and Samuelson's criteria are transitive, however, not complete. The Kaldor, Hicks, Scitovsky citeria are not transitive in the general case.
Conclusions. The lack of an ideal social welfare criterion is the consequence of the Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, and of the group of impossibility theorems in economics. It is necessary to develop new approaches to the assessment of aggregate welfare.

Keywords: social welfare, aggregation theory, Kaldor criterion, Hicks criterion, Samuelson criterion


  1. Kaldor N. Welfare Propositions of Economics and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility. The Economic Journal, 1939, vol. 49, iss. 195, pp. 549–552. URL: Link
  2. Hicks J.R. The Foundations of Welfare Economics. The Economic Journal, 1939, vol. 49, iss. 196, pp. 696–712. URL: Link
  3. Foster E. The Welfare Foundations of Cost-Benefit Analysis – A Comment. The Economic Journal, 1976, vol. 86, iss. 342, pp. 353–358. URL: Link
  4. Scitovsky T. A Note on Welfare Propositions in Economics. The Review of Economic Studies, 1941, vol. 9, iss. 1, pp. 77–88. URL: Link
  5. Gorman W.M. The Intransitivity of Certain Criteria Used in Welfare Economics. Oxford Economic Papers, 1955, vol. VII, iss. 1, pp. 25–34. URL: Link
  6. Eisenberg E. Aggregation of Utility Functions. Management Science, 1961, vol. 7, iss. 4, pp. 337–350. URL: Link
  7. Lau L.J. A Note on the Fundamental Theorem of Exact Aggregation. Economics Letters, 1982, vol. 9, iss. 2, pp. 119–126. URL: Link90002-7
  8. Jorgenson D.W., Lau L., Stocker T. The Transcendental Logarithmic Model of Aggregate Consumer Behavior. In: Advances in Econometrics, edited by R. Bassman, G. Rhodes. Greenwich, J.A.I. Press, 1982, vol. 1, pp. 97–238.
  9. Lewbel A. Exact Aggregation and a Representative Consumer. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1989, vol. 104, iss. 3, pp. 621–633. URL: Link
  10. Petrov A.A., Pospelov I.G., Shananin A.A. Opyt matematicheskogo modelirovaniya ekonomiki [Experience in the mathematical modeling of economy]. Moscow, Energoatomizdat Publ., 1996, 544 p.
  11. Shananin A.A. Agregirovanie konechnykh produktov i problema integriruemosti funktsii sprosa [Final products aggregation and the demand functions integrability problem]. Moscow, VTs AN SSSR Publ., 1986, 66 p.
  12. Gorbunov V.K. [To the problem of aggregation of consumer’s demand]. Zhurnal ekonomicheskoi teorii = Russian Journal of Economic Theory, 2009, no. 1, pp. 105–116. URL: Link (In Russ.)
  13. Zorkal'tsev V.I. [To the problem of economic agents' aggregation]. Vestnik Novosibirskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Ser.: Sotsial'no-ekonomicheskie nauki = Vestnik NSU. Series: Social and Economics Sciences, 2010, vol. 10, iss. 1, pp. 107–118. (In Russ.)
  14. Samuelson P.A. Evaluation of Real National Income. Oxford Economic Papers, 1950, vol. 2, iss. 1, pp. 1–29. URL: Link
  15. Chipman J.S., Moore J. Aggregate Demand, Real National Income, and the Compensation Principle. International Economic Review, 1973, vol. 14, iss. 1, pp. 153–181. URL: Link
  16. Chipman J.S., Moore J. The New Welfare Economics, 1939–1974. International Economic Review, 1978, vol. 19, iss. 3, pp. 547–584. URL: Link

View all articles of issue


ISSN 2311-8725 (Online)
ISSN 2073-039X (Print)

Journal current issue

Vol. 19, Iss. 12
December 2020