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Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian

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  • Kaushik Basu
  • Tapan Mitra

Abstract

It has been known that, in aggregating infinite utility streams, there does not exist any social welfare function, which satisfies the axioms of Pareto, intergenerational equity, and continuity. We show that the impossibility result persists even without imposing the continuity axiom, and in frameworks allowing for more general domains of utilities than those used in the existing literature. Copyright The Econometric Society 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:71:y:2003:i:5:p:1557-1563
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Basu Kaushik, 1994. "Group Rationality, Utilitarianism, and Escher's Waterfall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-9, July.
    2. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-1572, October.
    4. Stuart Burness, H., 1973. "Impatience and the preference for advancement in the timing of satisfactions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(5), pages 495-507, October.
    5. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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