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Comparisons of heterogeneous distributions and dominance criteria

  • Moyes, Patrick

We are interested in the comparisons of standard-of-living across societies when observations of both income and household structure are available. We generalise the approach of A.B. Atkinson and F. Bourguignon (1987) [3] to the case where the marginal distributions of needs can vary across the household populations under comparison. We assume that a sympathetic observer uses a utilitarian social welfare function in order to rank heterogeneous income distributions. Insofar as any individual can play the role of the observer, we take the unanimity point of view according to which the plannerʼs judgements have to comply with a certain number of basic normative principles. We impose increasingly restrictive conditions on the householdʼs utility function and we investigate their effects on the resulting rankings of the distributions. This leads us to propose four dominance criteria that can be used for providing an unambiguous ranking of income distributions for heterogeneous populations.

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

Volume (Year): 147 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1351-1383

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:4:p:1351-1383
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Gravel, Nicolas & Moyes, Patrick, 2012. "Ethically robust comparisons of bidimensional distributions with an ordinal attribute," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1384-1426.
  2. Peter J. Lambert & Xavier Ramos, 2001. "Welfare comparisons: sequential procedures for heterogenous populations," Working Papers wp0114, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
  3. Glewwe, Paul, 1991. "Household equivalence scales and the measurement of inequality : Transfers from the poor to the rich could decrease inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 211-216, March.
  4. d’ASPREMONT, Claude & GEVERS, Louis, 2001. "Social welfare functionals and interpersonal comparability," CORE Discussion Papers 2001040, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1977. "Multidimensional Egalitarianisms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-13, February.
  6. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  7. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2009. "Household decisions and equivalence scales," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 1039-1062, October.
  8. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  9. Chambaz, Christine & Maurin, Eric, 1998. "Atkinson and Bourguignon's Dominance Criteria: Extended and Applied to the Measurement of Poverty in France," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(4), pages 497-513, December.
  10. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1993. "Ranking Income Distributions When Needs Differ," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(4), pages 337-56, December.
  11. Fleurbaey, Marc & Hagnere, Cyrille & Trannoy, Alain, 2003. "Welfare comparisons with bounded equivalence scales," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 309-336, June.
  12. Shorrocks, Anthony F & Foster, James E, 1987. "Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 485-97, July.
  13. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2003. "Equivalence Scales Reconsidered," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 319-343, January.
  14. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-97, July.
  15. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  16. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  17. Larry G. Epstein & Stephen M. Tanny, 1980. "Increasing Generalized Correlation: A Definition and Some Economic Consequences," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(1), pages 16-34, February.
  18. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
  19. Bourguignon, Francois, 1989. "Family size and social utility : Income distribution dominance criteria," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 67-80, September.
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