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Information Invariance in Variable-Population Social-Choice Problems

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  • Blackorby, Charles
  • Bossert, Walter
  • Donaldson, David

Abstract

We examine the possibilities of extending Sen's taxonomy of fixed-population information assumptions regarding the measurability and interpersonal comparability of individual utilities to social-choice problems where the population may vary. It is shown that in order to avoid impossibility results, informationally more demanding assumptions than in the fixed-population framework are required. We provide characterizations of variable-population social-welfare orderings based on information assumptions, and we suggest a way of generating the required informational environment by means of norms that impose a domain restriction on the set of possible utility profiles. Copyright 1999 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1999. "Information Invariance in Variable-Population Social-Choice Problems," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 403-422, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:40:y:1999:i:2:p:403-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2003. "Harsanyi’s Social Aggregation Theorem : A Multi-Profile Approach with Variable-Population Extensions," Cahiers de recherche 2003-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    2. Shiell, Leslie, 2003. "Descriptive, prescriptive and second-best approaches to the control of global greenhouse gas emissions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1431-1452, August.
    3. Leslie Shiell, 2008. "The Repugnant Conclusion and Utilitarianism under Domain Restrictions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(6), pages 1011-1031, December.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1999. "Price-Independent Welfare Prescriptions and Population Size," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 111-119, January.
    5. Kohei Kamaga, 2016. "Infinite-horizon social evaluation with variable population size," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(1), pages 207-232, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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