The fairness test

Document type
Nolan, Patrick
Date of publication
1 March 2011
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Families
Social welfare
Material type

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Fairness is a difficult concept to pin down. It is often based on economic ideas that are difficult (if not impossible) to define, such as individual aversion to income inequality and marginal utility of income. It is also limited by the quality of the available data. For this reason policy proposals based on fairness need close examination. This Reform report finds several key arguments on fairness have been presented since May 2010. Some arguments seek to punish particular groups or ideas in the name of fairness; others seek to help groups in particular disadvantage. This report presents evidence on each.

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