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Equally-distributed equivalent utility, ex post egalitarianism and utilitarianism

  • Grant, Simon
  • Kajii, Atsushi
  • Polak, Ben
  • Safra, Zvi

We provide an axiomatization of expected equally-distributed equivalent-utility social welfare functions in the context of Harsanyiʼs impartial observer theorem. For this family of social welfare functions, we show what additional axiom is necessary and sufficient for the observer to exhibit aversion to ex post inequality. We also relate this axiomatization to our axiomatization in a companion paper of generalized utilitarian social welfare functions. Given certain richness assumptions, the only social welfare functions that belong to both families are the utilitarian.

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

Volume (Year): 147 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1545-1571

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:4:p:1545-1571
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Thibault Gajdos & Feriel Kandil, 2005. "The ignorant observer," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v06041, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), revised Mar 2006.
  2. Marc Fleurbaey, 2009. "Assessing risky social situations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27006, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak & Zvi Safra, 2006. "Generalized Utilitarianism and Harsanyi's Partial Observer Theorem," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000419, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Peter A. Diamond, 1967. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparison of Utility: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 765.
  5. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  6. Edi Karni & John A. Weymark, 1998. "An informationally parsimonious impartial observer theorem," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 321-332.
  7. 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.
  8. Roberts, Kevin W S, 1980. "Possibility Theorems with Interpersonally Comparable Welfare Levels," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 409-20, January.
  9. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  10. Alon Harel, 2005. "Ex-Post Egalitarianism and Legal Justice," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 57-75, April.
  11. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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