Greg Mankiw's Blog: Allocating Inauguration TicketsI've concluded that once of the primary differences between me and most people, especially leftists, is how we view Pareto improvements.
Background: The Congress allocates free tickets to the presidential inauguration, often by lottery. Some winners of the lottery try to sell them for thousands of dollars. Senator Schumer objects to the resale.
Question 1: When David, a lottery winner, sells his ticket to Ann, both David and Ann are better off. Who is worse off?
David and Ann are better off, but Betty, who didn't/wouldn't/couldn't buy a ticket is not worse off. I think this is a good thing. Many others interpret this lack of improvement to Betty's condition as a de facto harm to him.
(Perhaps oddly no one seems to feel this way about the people who didn't win the lottery in the first place. Their failure to win is not commonly seen as a loss. I suspect the difference might be that in the lottery, Betty et al. didn't benefit because of chance, rather than because of the agency of Ann and David. This just makes me want to re-read The Lottery in Babylon, but that will have to wait until I get home.)
No one raises their child this way. No one would encourage their kid to feel wounded if a classmate is bettered and they aren't. We don't accept such childish emotions from actual children; I don't know why we encourage them amongst adults.
(Image by Nicole Ginelli)