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Reconciling the Rawlsian and the utilitarian approaches to the maximization of social welfare

  • Stark, Oded
  • Jakubek, Marcin
  • Falniowski, Fryderyk

Under a deadweight loss of tax and transfer, there is tension between the optimal policy choices of a Rawlsian social planner and a utilitarian social planner. However, when with a weight greater than a certain critical value the individuals’ utility functions incorporate distaste for low relative income, a utilitarian will select exactly the same income distribution as a Rawlsian.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 122 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 439-444

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:122:y:2014:i:3:p:439-444
DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.11.019
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  1. Stark, Oded & Hyll, Walter & Wang, Yong, 2011. "Endogenous Selection of Comparison Groups, Human Capital Formation, and Tax Policy," Discussion Papers 99415, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  2. Antonio Cabrales & Olivier Gossner & Roberto Serrano, 2010. "Entropy and the value of information for investors," Working Papers 2010-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Sorger, Gerhard & Stark, Oded, 2012. "Income redistribution going awry: The reversal power of the concern for relative deprivation," Discussion Papers 142407, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  4. Hammond, Peter J., 1977. "Dual interpersonal comparisons of utility and the welfare economics of income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 51-71, February.
  5. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J. Edward, 1990. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role Of Relative Deprivation," Working Papers 225854, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  6. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2007. "Hypertension and Happiness across Nations," NBER Working Papers 12934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stark, Oded, 2013. "Stressful Integration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-9.
  8. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," NBER Working Papers 16396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  10. Oded Stark & Walter Hyll, 2011. "On the Economic Architecture of the Workplace: Repercussions of Social Comparisons among Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 349 - 375.
  11. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:03 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2010. "A Theory of Migration as a Response to Occupational Stigma," Economics Series 247, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  13. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2011. "Migration for degrading work as an escape from humiliation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 241-247, March.
  14. Daniel J. Zizzo & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others'Incomes?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 63-64, pages 39-65.
  15. Yaari, Menahem E., 1981. "Rawls, edgeworth, shapley, nash: Theories of distributive justice re-examined," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-39, February.
  16. Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation When Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601.
  17. Ireland, N. J., 2001. "Optimal income tax in the presence of status effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 193-212, August.
  18. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
  19. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Rawls, John, 1974. "Some Reasons for the Maximin Criterion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 141-46, May.
  21. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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