Social choice and economic growth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optimal economic growth deals with the problem of how societies make tradeoffs between current and future consumption, or equivalently, how societies make decisions about investment rates. Until now, theorists have simply assumed that there is some societal utility function which planners can maximize. Social choice theorists have thrown doubt upon the concept of a societal utility function. We treat optimal economic growth as a problem in social choice theory. Assume that citizens have preferences over the various growth plans. Under what conditions will a majority rule equilibrium exist? We show that such an equilibrium can exist for a Ramsey type problem. We then briefly consider social choice in the so-called "labor surplus" economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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