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The Impartial Observer Theorem of Social Ethics

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Author Info

  • Mongin, P.

Abstract

Following a long-standing philosophical tradition, impartiality is a distinctive and determining feature of moral judgements, especially in matters of distributive justice. This broad ethical tradition was revived in welfare economics by Vickrey, and aboce all, Harsanyi, under the form of the so-called Impartial Observer Theorem. The paper offers an analytical reconstruction of this argument and a philosophical critique of its premisses.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor. in its series Papers with number 99-33.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:pnegmi:99-33

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Postal: THEMA, Universite de Paris X-Nanterre, U.F.R. de science economiques, gestion, mathematiques et informatique, 200, avenue de la Republique 92001 Nanterre CEDEX.

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Keywords: SOCIAL CHOICE ; UNCERTAINTY ; ECONOMIC THEORY;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. P. Mongin & C. d'Aspremont, 1996. "Utility theory and ethics," THEMA Working Papers 96-32, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  3. Harsanyi, John C, 1995. "Games with Incomplete Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 291-303, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Thibault Gajdos & Feriel Kandil, 2005. "The ignorant observer," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v06041, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), revised Mar 2006.
  2. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00177374 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak & Zvi Safra, 2006. "Generalized Utilitarianism and Harsanyi’s Partial Observer Theorem," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1578, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Hammond, Peter J, 2013. "Extending the Original Position : Revisiting the Pattanaik Critique of Vickrey/Harsanyi Utilitarianism," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1008, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. repec:pdn:ciepap:13 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Yoram Amiel & Frank A Cowell & Wulf Gaertner, 2006. "To Be or not To Be Involved:A Questionnaire-Experimental View on Harsanyi’sUtilitarian Ethics," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 85, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00115722 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. repec:pdn:wpaper:13 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak & Zvi Safra, 2012. "A generalized representation theorem for Harsanyi’s (‘impartial’) observer," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 833-846, October.
  10. Valérie Clément & Alain Marciano, 2011. "Welfarism, Libertarian Paternalism and Political Economy: Three Perspectives on Economic Expertise," Working Papers 11-23, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Nov 2011.
  11. Juan Moreno-Ternero & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Impartiality and Priority. Part 1: The Veil of Ignorance," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1477A, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised May 2005.

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