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Possibility Theorems for Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams Equitably

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  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

  • Mitra, Tapan

    (Cornell U)

Abstract

The standard route for aggregating infinite utility streams using a real-valued representation runs into well-known difficulties as soon as we insist on the axiom of inter-generational equity. The aim of this paper is to explore what is feasible without abandoning this axiom. The paper focusses its attention on the Pareto axiom and domain restrictions. It turns out that once we weaken these requirements, realvalued aggregation becomes possible in a variety of ways (though, of course, impossibility results lurk everywhere). By establishing a series of results, this paper tries to chalk out the frontier between what is possible and what is not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05-05.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:05-05

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References

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  1. Basu Kaushik, 1994. "Group Rationality, Utilitarianism, and Escher's Waterfall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-9, July.
  2. 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.
  3. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. BOSSERT, Walter & SPRUMONT, Yves & SUZUMURA, Kotaro, 2004. "The Possibility of Ordering Infinite Utility Streams," Cahiers de recherche, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ 12-2004, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  5. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
  6. Suzumura, Kotaro & Shinotsuka, Tomoichi, 2003. "On the Possibility of Continuous, Paretian and Egalitarian Evaluation of Infinite Utility Streams," Discussion Paper, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University 189, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  7. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  8. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with Inter-generational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Working Papers, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics 03-03, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Geir B. Asheim & Tapan Mitra, 2009. "Sustainability and Discounted Utilitarianism in Models of Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2521, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. José Carlos R. Alcantud & María D. García-Sanz, 2013. "Evaluations of Infinite Utility Streams: Pareto Efficient and Egalitarian Axiomatics," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 432-447, 07.
  3. ASHEIM, Geir B. & d’ASPREMONT, Claude & BANERJEE, Kuntal, 2008. "Generalized time-invariant overtaking," CORE Discussion Papers, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) 2008065, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Juan Crespo & Carmelo Nuñez & Juan Rincón-Zapatero, 2009. "On the impossibility of representing infinite utility streams," Economic Theory, Springer, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 47-56, July.
  5. Alcantud, José Carlos R., 2010. "The compromise efficiency vs. egalitarianism among generations with an infinite horizon," MPRA Paper 22284, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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