The Case of Stated Preferences and Social Well-Being Indices


  • Shiri Cohen Kaminitz The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • Iddan Sonsino University of Toronto, Canada



This paper provides a real-world test case for how to approach contemporary preference aggregation procedures. We examine the method of using stated preferences (SP) to structure social well-being indices. The method has seen increasing popularity and interest, both in economists’ laboratory research and by governments and international institutions. SP offers a sophisticated aggregation of peoples’ preferences regarding social well-being aspects and, in this way, provides elegant and non-paternalistic techniques for deciding how to weigh and prioritize various potential aspects of social well-being (health, happiness, economic growth, etc.). However, this method also poses difficulties and limitations from broader political and philosophical perspectives. This paper comprehensively charts these difficulties and suggests that SP methods should be complemented with appropriate deliberation procedures. The paper bridges the distinct perspectives of economists and political theorists in order to make SP an attractive instrument in determining policy.

Author Biographies

Shiri Cohen Kaminitz, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Shiri Cohen Kaminitz is an assistant professor (lecturer) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Political Science Department and PPE program. Her research interests include Political Theory, History of Economic thought, Utilitarianism, and Well-Being as a political agenda. She has published in the journals: Utilitas, History of Political Economy, Journal of Happiness Studies, Social Indicators Research, CRISPP.

Iddan Sonsino, University of Toronto, Canada

Iddan Sonsino is a political theory doctoral student at the University of Toronto. His research interests focus broadly on the intersection of political philosophy and political economy.




How to Cite

Cohen Kaminitz, S., & Sonsino, I. (2022). The Case of Stated Preferences and Social Well-Being Indices. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 15(1), 32–55.