When Not Every Good is Good: Two Dimensions of Social Choice

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Assoc. Prof.
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 3

The quantitative approach to the assessment of socially approved structure of socially significant goods is developed and tested on the data of representative survey in Russia. Social choice is considered from two sides – both magnitude and heterogeneity of demand for different types of public and merit goods. The analysis is based on a hypothetical situation on the fair distribution of public funds between social bonds of different destination. It is shown that demand for “humanitarian” goods is greater in comparison both the so-called “protective” (as the basis of ethacratic model of society) and “post-industrial” (playing investment function in the society) goods. Moreover, the vision of development through justice and compassion, rather than through the capitalization of talent and success is dominated in the Russian society when the society is faced with a situation of choice between these alternatives. The next interesting point is that the goods which are aimed at providing the national safety and sovereignty occupy a upper positions in the overall structure of social preferences, while the elements of “superpower” regarded as a public goods are least preferred by the respondents.We have demonstrated cases where high aggregate demand for merit and public goods is accompanied by a high stratification of society in terms of individual demand. Finally, it is demonstrated that the distribution of resources between different types of merit and public goods individually perceived as fair is determined by gender identity, material welfare and by factor of big family. 

Keywordssocial preferences, social choice, merit goods, public goods
Publication date16.03.2020
Number of characters27208
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