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Extending the Original Position : Revisiting the Pattanaik Critique of Vickrey/Harsanyi Utilitarianism

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  • Hammond, Peter J

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick,)

Abstract

Harsanyi's original position treats personal identity, upon which each individual's utility depends, as risky. Pattanaik's critique is related to the problem of scaling \state-dependent" von Neumann{Morgenstern utility when determining subjective probabilities. But a unique social welfare functional, incorporating both level and unit interpersonal comparisons, emerges from contemplating an \extended" original position allowing the probability of becoming each person to be chosen. Moreover, the paper suggests the relevance of a \Harsanyi ethical type space", with types as both causes and objects of preference JEL classification: JEL codes:

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 1008.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1008

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  1. Hammond, Peter J, 1981. "Ex-ante and Ex-post Welfare Optimality under Uncertainty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(191), pages 235-50, August.
  2. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  3. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak & Zvi Safra, 2006. "Generalized Utilitarianism and Harsanyi’s Partial Observer Theorem," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 1578, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. P. Mongin., 1999. "The impartial observer theorem of social ethics," THEMA Working Papers 99-33, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  5. Starr, Ross M, 1973. "Optimal Production and Allocation under Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 81-95, February.
  6. Karni, E. & Mongin, P., 1997. "On the Determination of Subjective Probability by Choices," Papers, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor. 9737, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  7. Dasgupta, Partha S, 1969. "On the Concept of Optimum Population," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(107), pages 295-318, July.
  8. Carsten Krabbe Nielsen, 2009. "Rational Overconfidence and Social Security," Discussion Paper Series 0916, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
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