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Formal welfarism and intergenerational equity

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  • d’ASPREMONT, Claude

Abstract

The formulation of the problem of justice among generations as the problem of finding an ordering of infinite utility streams is examined within the "social welfare functional" approach to social choice. This formulation usually presumes a double reduction, not only the classical "welfarist" reduction, according to which "utility" provides all the information required to construct a social evaluation rule, but also the aggregation of the individual utility levels at each generation into a single utility level. We shall argue that this second type of reduction obliterates the relationship between the values judgments made in the social evaluation ofthe welfare of the presently living generation with that of future generations and does not emphasize the capacity for many social evaluation criteria (including pure utilitarianism and Leximin) to "proliferate" from the present generation to any larger set of generations. Our results concerning the orderings generated by such proliferating rules are compared to characterisations already given in the literature.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2005075.

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Date of creation: 00 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2005075

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  1. D'ASPREMONT, Claude & GEVERS, Louis, . "Social welfare functionals and interpersonal comparability," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1564, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Amrita Dhillon, 1998. "Extended Pareto rules and relative utilitarianism," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 521-542.
  3. BOSSERT, Walter & SPRUMONT, Yves & SUZUMURA, Kotaro, 2004. "The Possibility of Ordering Infinite Utility Streams," Cahiers de recherche 12-2004, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  4. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
  5. Mongin, P & d'Aspremont, C, 1996. "Utility Theory and Ethics," Papers 9632, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  6. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GEVERS, Louis, . "Equity and the informational basis of collective choice," CORE Discussion Papers RP -350, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. WEYMARK, John A., . "Generalized Gini inequality indices," CORE Discussion Papers RP -453, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Gevers, Louis, 1979. "On Interpersonal Comparability and Social Welfare Orderings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 75-89, January.
  9. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
  10. Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, 09.
  11. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. "Utilitarianism and the theory of justice," 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 11, pages 543-596 Elsevier.
  12. Lauwers, Luc, 1998. "Intertemporal objective functions: Strong pareto versus anonymity," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 37-55, January.
  13. M. Fleurbaey & P. Michel, 1997. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," THEMA Working Papers 97-11, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  14. Lauwers, Luc & Van Liedekerke, Luc, 1995. "Ultraproducts and aggregation," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 217-237.
  15. Geir Asheim & Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Resolving distributional conflicts between generations," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 221-230, 07.
  16. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Equity, Arrow's Conditions, and Rawls' Difference Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 793-804, July.
  17. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Equity in Two Person Situations: Some Consequences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1127-35, September.
  18. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  19. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  20. Gerard Debreu, 1959. "Topological Methods in Cardinal Utility Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 76, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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Cited by:
  1. Jean-François, MERTENS & Anna, RUBINCHIK, 2008. "Intergenerational equity and the discount rate for cost-benefit analysis," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008047, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  2. Geir B. Asheim & Kuntal Banerjee, 2009. "Fixed-step anonymous overtaking and catching-up," Working Papers 09001, Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University.
  3. Geir B. , ASHEIM & Claude, DASPREMONT & Kuntal, BANERJEE, 2008. "Generalized time-invariant overtaking," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008039, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  4. Alcantud, José Carlos R. & García-Sanz, María D., 2009. "A comment on "Intergenerational equity: sup, inf, lim sup, and lim inf"," MPRA Paper 14763, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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