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A welfarist version of Harsanyi’s aggregation theorem

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  • d’ASPREMONT, Claude

    ()
    (Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Louvain la Neuve, Belgium)

  • MONGIN, Philippe

    (THEMA, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université de Cergy-Pontoise, Cergy-Pontoise, France)

Abstract

Harsanyi’s Aggregation Theorem has often been dismissed as being irrelevant to utilitarianism, and thus void of ethical content. Some of these objections can be met by reformulating Harsanyi’s theorem in the multi-profile context of Social Welfare Functionals theory. The present paper aims at showing that appropriately formulated single-profile variants of the theorem also meet the objections, and thus arguably make sense in terms of utilitarianism. More precisely, using an “enlarged” single-profile approach, we derive a Harsanyi-like representation which is both anonymous and compatible with meaningful comparisons of cardinal utility functions. These results depend on reformulating Harsanyi’s aggregation theorem in the social-choice theoretic framework of welfarism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 1997063.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:1997063

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  1. d'Aspremont, Claude & Gevers, Louis, 2002. "Social welfare functionals and interpersonal comparability," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 459-541 Elsevier.

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