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Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization

  • Basu, Kaushik
  • Mitra, Tapan

A definition of a utilitarian social welfare relation (SWR) for infinite utility streams is proposed. Such a relation is characterized in terms of the Pareto, Anonymity and Partial Unit Comparability Axioms. The merits of the utilitarian SWR, relative to the more restrictive SWR induced by the overtaking criterion, are examined.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 133 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 350-373

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:133:y:2007:i:1:p:350-373
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  1. M. Kaneko, 1984. "On interpersonal utility comparisons," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 165-175, October.
  2. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A, 1984. "Social Choice with Interpersonal Utility Comparisons: A Diagrammatic Introduction," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(2), pages 327-56, June.
  3. d'Aspremont, Claude & Gevers, Louis, 1977. "Equity and the Informational Basis of Collective Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 199-209, June.
  4. Asheim,G.B. & Buchholz,W. & Tungodden,B., 1999. "Justifying sustainability," Memorandum 08/1999, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  5. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with Inter-generational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Working Papers 03-03, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  7. Peter A. Diamond & Tjalling C. Koopmans & Richard E. Williamson, 1962. "Stationary Utility and Time Preference," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 142, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Luc Lauwers, 1996. "Rawlsian equity and generalised utilitarianism with an infinite population (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 143-150.
  9. Basu, Kaushik, 1983. "Cardinal utility, utilitarianism, and a class of invariance axioms in welfare analysis," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 193-206, December.
  10. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  11. Mitra, Tapan, 2004. "Intergenerational Equity and the Forest Management Problem," Working Papers 04-17, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  12. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
  13. Maskin, Eric, 1978. "A Theorem on Utilitarianism," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 93-96, February.
  14. Geir Asheim & Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Resolving distributional conflicts between generations," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 221-230, 07.
  15. Roberts, Kevin W S, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 421-39, January.
  16. Gerard Debreu, 1959. "Topological Methods in Cardinal Utility Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 76, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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