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2003

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

Duke Law

Ethics

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The Puzzle Of Ex Ante Efficiency: Does Rational Approvability Have Moral Weight?, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2003

The Puzzle Of Ex Ante Efficiency: Does Rational Approvability Have Moral Weight?, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

A governmental decision is "ex ante efficient" if it maximizes the satisfaction of everyone's preferences ex ante, relative to other possible decisions. Equivalently, each affected person would be rational to approve the decision, given her preferences and beliefs at the time of the choice. Does this matter, morally speaking? Do governmental officials - legislators, judges, regulators - have a moral reason to make decisions that are ex ante efficient? The economist's answer is "yes." "Ex ante efficiency" is widely seen by welfare economists to have moral significance, and often appears within law-and-economics scholarship as a criterion for evaluating legal doctrines ...