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Comparisons of Heterogeneous Distributions and Dominance Criteria

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  • Patrick MOYES (GREThA et IDEP Marseille)

Abstract

We are interested in the comparisons of standard-of-living across societies when observations of both income and household structure are available. We generalise the approach of Atkinson and Bourguignon (1987) to the case where the marginal distributions of needs can vary across the household populations under comparison. We assume that a sympathetic observer uses a utilitarian social welfare function in order to rank heterogeneous income distributions. Insofar as any individual can play the role of the observer, we take the unanimity point of view according to which the planner’s judgements have to comply with a certain number of basic normative principles. We impose increasingly restrictive conditions on the household’s utility function and we investigate their effects on the resulting rankings of the distributions. This leads us to propose four dominance criteria that can be used for providing an unambiguous ranking of income distributions for heterogeneous populations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée in its series Cahiers du GREThA with number 2011-23.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2011-23

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Keywords: Normative Analysis; Utilitarianism; Welfarism; Multidimensional Inequality and Welfare; Bidimensional Stochastic Dominance; Inequality Reducing Transformations.;

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  1. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  2. 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).
  3. M. Fleurbaey & C. Hagneré & A. Trannoy, 1998. "Welfare comparisons with bounded equivalence scales," THEMA Working Papers 98-23, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  4. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  5. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2009. "Household decisions and equivalence scales," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 1039-1062, October.
  6. Peter Lambert & Xavi Ramos, 2001. "Welfare Comparisons: Sequential Procedures for Heterogeneous Population," CESifo Working Paper Series 519, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Larry G. Epstein & Stephen M. Tanny, 1980. "Increasing Generalized Correlation: A Definition and Some Economic Consequences," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(1), pages 16-34, February.
  8. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1993. "Ranking Income Distributions When Needs Differ," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(4), pages 337-56, December.
  9. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
  10. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1977. "Multidimensional Egalitarianisms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-13, February.
  11. Gravel, Nicolas & Moyes, Patrick, 2012. "Ethically robust comparisons of bidimensional distributions with an ordinal attribute," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1384-1426.
  12. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  13. Chambaz, Christine & Maurin, Eric, 1998. "Atkinson and Bourguignon's Dominance Criteria: Extended and Applied to the Measurement of Poverty in France," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(4), pages 497-513, December.
  14. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  15. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-97, July.
  16. Bourguignon, Francois, 1989. "Family size and social utility : Income distribution dominance criteria," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 67-80, September.
  17. Glewwe, Paul, 1991. "Household equivalence scales and the measurement of inequality : Transfers from the poor to the rich could decrease inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 211-216, March.
  18. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2003. "Equivalence Scales Reconsidered," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 319-343, January.
  19. Shorrocks, Anthony F & Foster, James E, 1987. "Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 485-97, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Moyes, Patrick, 2013. "Rearrangements and sequential rank order dominance," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 278-290.
  2. Peter J. Lambert & Xavier Ramos, 2001. "Welfare comparisons: sequential procedures for heterogenous populations," Working Papers wp0114, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
  3. Gajdos, Thibault & Weymark, John A., 2012. "Introduction to inequality and risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1313-1330.
  4. Louis Eeckhoudt & Béatrice Rey & Harris Schlesinger, 2006. "A Good Sign for Multivariate Risk Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 1796, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Gravel, Nicolas & Moyes, Patrick, 2012. "Ethically robust comparisons of bidimensional distributions with an ordinal attribute," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1384-1426.
  6. Christophe Muller & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "A Dominance Approach to Well-Being Inequality across Countries," IDEP Working Papers 0313, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France.
  7. Patrick MOYES, 2013. "Rearrangements and Sequential Rank Order Dominance," Cahiers du GREThA 2013-10, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  8. Sonne-Schmidt, Christoffer & Tarp, Finn & Osterdal, Lars Peter, 2013. "Ordinal multidimensional inequality," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  9. Muller, Christophe & Trannoy, Alain, 2011. "A dominance approach to the appraisal of the distribution of well-being across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 239-246.
  10. Patrick MOYES (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2011. "Rearrangements and Sequential Rank Order Dominance. A Result with Economic Applications," Cahiers du GREThA 2011-35, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  11. N. GRAVEL & Patrick MOYES (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2008. "Bidimensional Inequalities with an Ordinal Variable," Cahiers du GREThA 2008-14, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  12. Marc Fleurbaey & Cyrille Hagneré & Alain Trannoy, 2007. "Welfare Comparisons of Income Distributions and Family Size," IDEP Working Papers 0702, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised 16 Jan 2007.

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