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Ethically robust comparisons of bidimensional distributions with an ordinal attribute

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  • Gravel, Nicolas
  • Moyes, Patrick

Abstract

We provide foundations for robust normative evaluation of distributions of two attributes, one of which is cardinally measurable and transferable between individuals and the other is ordinal and non-transferable. The result that we establish takes the form of an analogue to the standard Hardy–Littlewood–Pólya theorem for distributions of one cardinal attribute. More specifically, we identify the transformations of the distributions which guarantee that social welfare increases according to utilitarian unanimity provided that the utility function is concave in the cardinal attribute and that its marginal utility with respect to the same attribute is non-increasing in the ordinal attribute. We establish that this unanimity ranking of the distributions is equivalent to the ordered poverty gap quasi-ordering introduced by Bourguignon [12]. Finally, we show that, if one distribution dominates another according to the ordered poverty gap criterion, then the former can be derived from the latter by means of an appropriate and finite sequence of such transformations.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:4:p:1384-1426
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2012.01.001
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Frank A Cowell & Martyna Kobus & Radoslaw Kurek, 2017. "Welfare and Inequality Comparisons for Uni- and Multi-dimensional Distributions of Ordinal Data," STICERD - Public Economics Programme Discussion Papers 31, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    2. Patrick MOYES, 2013. "Rearrangements and Sequential Rank Order Dominance," Cahiers du GREThA 2013-10, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    3. Range, Troels Martin & Østerdal, Lars Peter, 2013. "Checking bivariate first order dominance," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 9/2013, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
    4. Stephen Bazen & Patrick Moyes, 2012. "Elitism and stochastic dominance," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 39(1), pages 207-251, June.
    5. Christoph Heinzel, 2014. "Term structure of discount rates under multivariate s-ordered consumption growth," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 14-01, INRA UMR SMART-LERECO.
    6. Benoît Tarroux, 2015. "Comparing two-dimensional distributions: a questionnaire-experimental approach," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(1), pages 87-108, January.
    7. Gajdos, Thibault & Weymark, John A., 2012. "Introduction to inequality and risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1313-1330.
    8. Nicolas Gravel & Patrick Moyes, 2013. "Utilitarianism or welfarism: does it make a difference?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 40(2), pages 529-551, February.
    9. Sonne-Schmidt, Christoffer & Tarp, Finn & Østerdal, Lars Peter, 2013. "Ordinal Multidimensional Inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 097, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Channing Arndt & Nikolaj Siersbæk, & Lars Peter Østerdal, 2015. "Multidimensional first-order dominance comparisons of population wellbeing," WIDER Working Paper Series 122, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Christoffer Sonne-Schmidt & Finn Tarp & Lars Peter Østerdal, 2016. "Ordinal Bivariate Inequality: Concepts and Application to Child Deprivation in Mozambique," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 559-573, September.
    12. repec:spr:joecth:v:65:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00199-016-1011-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Moyes, Patrick, 2012. "Comparisons of heterogeneous distributions and dominance criteria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1351-1383.
    14. Muller, Christophe & Trannoy, Alain, 2012. "Multidimensional inequality comparisons: A compensation perspective," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1427-1449.
    15. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2017. "Inequality and isoelastic equivalence scales: restrictions and implications," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 48(2), pages 295-326, February.
    16. Moyes, Patrick, 2013. "Rearrangements and sequential rank order dominance," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 278-290.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Normative analysis; Utilitarianism; Bidimensional stochastic dominance; Inequality reducing transformations;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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