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DARP Paper
Evaluation via Extended Orderings: Empirical Findings from West and East
Wulf Gaertner and Jochen Jungeilges
March 1999
Paper No' DARP 042:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: distributive justice; rawlsianism; equity considerations

The theoretical background of the empirical investigations to be reported in this paper are positionalist aggregation functions which are numerically representable. More concretely, the broad Borda rule is proposed as an aggregation mechanism for the case of a complete set (profile) of so-called individual extended orderings. The Borda rule becomes an interpersonal positional rule and it is modified to reflect considerations of equity. Such considerations are introduced by transforming the original linear weighting system such that an equity axiom well known from the social choice literature is satisfied. Students from Osnabr*ck University and from universities in the Baltic States were confronted with questionnaires that describe six 'situations', most of which reflect different aspects of needs. All situations start from the preference structure which underlies the equity axiom, viz. there is one person who is worst off under two alternatives x and y. This person is better off under x than under y whereas all the other individuals who are introduced successively are better off under y than x. Three of the points were are focusing on are: (a) What is the percentage of respondents satisfying the equity axiom? (b) How often do the students revise their initial decision when more and more people join the side of the more advantaged? (c) Are there major differences in the empirical results between West and East? We have found that Western students satisfy the equity axiom to a high degree but they are not willing to follow Rawl's unique focus on the worst of (group of) individual(s) unconditionally, i.e. independently of the number of persons involved. There are stunning differences between the results from the East and the West. Though the number of students from Osnabr*ck involved in the study is much higher than the number of students from the three Baltic States, it is fair to say that aspects of neediness and the protection of basic human rights currently are