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Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle

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  • Michele Lombardi
  • Roberto Veneziani

Abstract

This paper analyses Rawls's celebrated difference principle, and its lexicographic extension, in societies with a finite and an infinite number of agents. A unified framework of analysis is set up, which allows one to characterise Rawlsian egalitarian principles by means of a weaker version of a new axiom - the Harm Principle - recently proposed by [13]. This is quite surprising, because the Harm principle is meant to capture a liberal requirement of noninterference and it incorporates no obvious egalitarian content. A set of new characterisations of the maximin and of its lexicographic refinement are derived, including in the intergenerational context with an infinite number of agents.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number gd09-078.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hst:ghsdps:gd09-078

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Keywords: Difference principle; leximin; weak harm priciple; infinite utility streams;

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Cited by:
  1. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "The Paradoxes of the Liberal Ethics of Non-interference," Working Papers 653, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Michele Lombardi & Kahame Miyagishima & Roberto Veneziani, 2013. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2013-07, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  3. José Carlos R. Alcantud & María D. García-Sanz, 2013. "Evaluations of Infinite Utility Streams: Pareto Efficient and Egalitarian Axiomatics," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 432-447, 07.
  4. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2012. "Allocating chances of success in finite and infinite societies: The utilitarian criterion," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 226-236.
  5. Alcantud, José Carlos R., 2011. "Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: When can we avoid interferences?," MPRA Paper 32198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2014. "The Liberal Ethics of Non-Interference and the Pareto Principle," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201404, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews, revised 01 Apr 2014.
  7. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2012. "Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2012-09, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  8. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2013. "On the impossibility of complete Non-Interference in Paretian social judgements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1689-1699.

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