Alcalde-Unzu, Jorge Ballester, Miguel A. Nieto, Jorge
Year of Publication:
[Journal:] SERIEs - Journal of the Spanish Economic Association [ISSN:] 1869-4195 [Publisher:] Springer [Place:] Heidelberg [Volume:] 3 [Year:] 2012 [Issue:] 1/2 [Pages:] 209-226
This essay deals with the notion and content of freedom of choice proposing a new set up and a new family of measures for this concept which is, indeed, an ethical value of paramount importance in a well ordered and open society. Following some ideas of John StuartMill, we propose that freedom of choice has to be understood not in a single stage of choice, but in the ordered collection of choices that a person can make in her life.We then suggest to represent a life in a tree structure, where each node represents a state of life and the edges between nodes will represent possible decisions in life. In this new framework, we propose a set of axioms that imply the following family of measures of lifetime's freedom of choice: the lifetime's freedom of choice has to be evaluated by a weighted sum of all possible states of life an individual might visit, with weights representing the number of decisions the individual took to reach that state.