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Equally-distributed equivalent utility, ex post egalitarianism and utilitarianism

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  • Grant, Simon
  • Kajii, Atsushi
  • Polak, Ben
  • Safra, Zvi

Abstract

We provide an axiomatization of expected equally-distributed equivalent-utility social welfare functions in the context of Harsanyiʼs impartial observer theorem. For this family of social welfare functions, we show what additional axiom is necessary and sufficient for the observer to exhibit aversion to ex post inequality. We also relate this axiomatization to our axiomatization in a companion paper of generalized utilitarian social welfare functions. Given certain richness assumptions, the only social welfare functions that belong to both families are the utilitarian.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 147 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1545-1571

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:4:p:1545-1571

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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Keywords: Utilitarianism; Harsanyiʼs (impartial) observer; Social welfare function; Ex post egalitarianism;

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  1. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00177374 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak & Zvi Safra, 2006. "Generalized Utilitarianism and Harsanyi's Partial Observer Theorem," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000419, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Marc Fleurbaey, 2007. "Assessing Risky Social Situations," IDEP Working Papers 0703, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised Jan 2007.
  4. Roberts, Kevin W S, 1980. "Possibility Theorems with Interpersonally Comparable Welfare Levels," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 409-20, January.
  5. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  6. Alon Harel, 2005. "Ex-Post Egalitarianism and Legal Justice," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 57-75, April.
  7. Thibault Gajdos & Feriel Kandil, 2008. "The ignorant observer," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 193-232, August.
  8. Peter A. Diamond, 1967. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparison of Utility: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 765.
  9. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  10. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  11. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  12. Edi Karni & John A. Weymark, 1998. "An informationally parsimonious impartial observer theorem," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 321-332.
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Cited by:
  1. Gajdos, Thibault & Weymark, John A., 2012. "Introduction to inequality and risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1313-1330.
  2. Chew, Soo Hong & Sagi, Jacob S., 2012. "An inequality measure for stochastic allocations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1517-1544.

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