Intergenerational Ethics under Resource Constraints
When evaluating long-term policies, economists usually suggest to maximize the sum of discounted utilities. On the one hand, discounted utilitarianism was given a solid axiomatic foundation by Koopmans (Econometrica 1960). On the other hand, this criterion has questionable implications when applied to economic models with resource constraints. This raises the question: What ethical conditions for intergenerational distribution should and can be imposed? I use my discussion of such conditions to illuminate the conflict between equity and efficiency that has been a central theme in the axiomatic literature on intergenerational justice. Moreover, a guide to some recent contributions is presented.
Volume (Year): 141 (2005)
Issue (Month): III (September)
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