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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolet

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  1. Daniel J. ZIZZO & Andrew J. OSWALD, 2001. "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others'Incomes?," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 63-64, pages 39-65.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Hypertension and Happiness across Nations," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 792, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-78, September.
  7. Antonio Cabrales & Olivier Gossner & Roberto Serrano, 2013. "Entropy and the Value of Information for Investors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 360-77, February.
  8. Hyll, Walter & Stark, Oded & Wang, Yong, 2011. "Endogenous selection of comparison groups, human capital formation, and tax policy," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 3, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  9. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2009. "A Theory of Migration as a Response to Occupational Stigma," Discussion Papers 55363, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  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. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  14. 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.
  15. Rawls, John, 1974. "Some Reasons for the Maximin Criterion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 141-46, May.
  16. Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
  17. Stark, Oded, 2013. "Stressful integration," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 56, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  18. 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.
  19. 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).
  20. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2010. "Migration for degrading work as an escape from humiliation," MPRA Paper 28905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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