Intertemporal Social Evaluation
AbstractIntertemporal social-evaluation rules provide us with social criteria that can be used to assess the relative desirability of utility distributions across generations. The trade-offs between the well-being of different generations implicit in each such rule reflect the underlying ethical position on issues of intergenerational equity or justice. We employ an axiomatic approach in order to identify ethically attractive social evaluation procedures. In particular, we explore the possibilities of using welfare information and non-welfare information in a model of intertemporal social evaluation. We focus on the individuals’ birth dates and lengths of life as the relevant non-welfare information. As usual, welfare information is given by lifetime utilities. It is assumed that this information is available for each alternative to be ranked. Various weakenings of the Pareto principle are employed in order to allow birth dates or lengths of life (or both) to matter in social evaluation. In addition, we impose standard properties such as continuity and anonymity and we examine the consequences of an intertemporal independence property. For each of the Pareto conditions employed, we characterize all social-evaluation rules satisfying it and our other axioms. The resulting rules are birth-date dependent or lifetime-dependent versions of generalized utilitarianism. Furthermore, we discuss the ethical and axiomatic foundations of geometric discounting in the context of our model.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 06-2005.
Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2005
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intergenerational equity and justice; intertemporal social choice; welfarist and non-welfarist social evaluation;
Other versions of this item:
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
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Cahiers de recherche
14-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
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