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The Axiomatic Approach to Population Ethics

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  • Blackorby, Charles
  • Bossert, Walter
  • Donaldson, David

Abstract

This paper examines several families of population principles in the light of a set of axioms. In addition to the critical-level utilitarian, number-sensitive critical-level utilitarian and number-dampened families and their generalized counterparts, we consider the restricted number-dampened family (suggested by Hurka) and introduce two new families: the restricted critical-level and restricted number-dependent critical-level families. Subsets of the restricted families have nonnegative critical levels and avoid both the repugnant and sadistic conclusions but fail to satisfy an important independence condition. We defend the critical-level principles with positive critical levels.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Discussion Paper with number 24.

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Length: 28, [9] p.
Date of creation: Mar 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:piedp1:24

Note: March 12, 2001
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Keywords: Population Ethics; Repugnant Conclusion; Sadistic Conclusion;

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References

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  1. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2000. "Population Principles with Number-Dependent Critical Levels," Working Papers 2000-06, Rice University, Department of Economics.
  2. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
  3. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
  4. Broome, John, 2004. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199243761.
  5. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
  6. Blackorby, C. & Bossert, W. & Donalson, D., 1995. "Birth-Date Dependent Population Ethics: Critical-Level Principles," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 95a24, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  7. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1992. "Pigs and Guinea Pigs: A Note on the Ethics of Animal Exploitation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1345-69, November.
  8. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 14-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en ├ęconomie quantitative, CIREQ.
  9. Roberts, Kevin W S, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 421-39, January.
  10. Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Uncertainty and critical-level population principles," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20.
  11. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2001. "Population ethics and the existence of value functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 301-308, November.
  12. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-20, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Alain Trannoy & John Weymark, 2007. "Dominance Criteria for Critical-Level Generalized Utilitarianism," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0707, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  2. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2002. "Critical-Level Population Principles and the Repugnant Conclusion," Cahiers de recherche 2002-15, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2005. "Population Ethics and the Value of Life," Working Paper Series RP2005/03, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson, 2007. "Variable-population extensions of social aggregation theorems," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 567-589, June.

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