CHDS Seminar with Matthew Adler: “Social Welfare Functions and Health Policy”
April 24th @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Abstract: The social welfare function (SWF) framework is a policy-evaluation methodology that is well accepted within various economic literatures. Unlike cost-benefit analysis, which measures well-being effects on a monetary scale, the SWF framework employs an interpersonally comparable well-being measure. There are different possible functional forms for an SWF, including a “prioritarian” SWF—one that gives greater weight to worse-off individuals. This talk provides an overview of the SWF framework and then discusses its application to health policies.
Bio: Matthew D. Adler is the Richard A. Horvitz Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, Philosophy and Public Policy at Duke University. His scholarship is interdisciplinary, drawing from welfare economics, normative ethics, and legal theory. Adler’s current research agenda focuses on “prioritarianism”—a refinement to utilitarianism that gives extra weight (“priority”) to the worse off. Along with Ole Norheim, he is the co-founder of the Prioritarianism in Practice Research Network. Related work appears in an edited volume, Prioritarianism in Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2022).