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The impossibility of social evaluations of infinite streams with strict inequality aversion

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  • José Carlos R. Alcantud

    (Universidad de Salamanca)

Abstract

We are concerned with the problem of aggregating infinite utility streams and the possible adoption of consequentialist equity principles. We find a virtually universal incompatibility between the Basu–Mitra approach (that advocates for social welfare functions and renounces continuity assumptions) and postulates that capture various forms of strict preference for a reduction in inequality like the Strong Equity Principle, the Pigou–Dalton Transfer principle, or Altruistic Equity. We also prove that the Hara–Shinotsuka–Suzumura–Xu impossibility for semicontinuous social welfare relations remains under the latter distributional postulate.

Suggested Citation

  • José Carlos R. Alcantud, 2013. "The impossibility of social evaluations of infinite streams with strict inequality aversion," Economic Theory Bulletin, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 1(2), pages 123-130, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:etbull:v:1:y:2013:i:2:d:10.1007_s40505-013-0005-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s40505-013-0005-5
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    8. Alcantud, José Carlos R., 2010. "The compromise efficiency vs. egalitarianism among generations with an infinite horizon," MPRA Paper 22284, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    18. Dubey, Ram Sewak, 2011. "Fleurbaey–Michel conjecture on equitable weak Paretian social welfare order," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 434-439.
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    20. Bossert, Walter & Sprumont, Yves & Suzumura, Kotaro, 2007. "Ordering infinite utility streams," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 579-589, July.
    21. Hara, Chiaki & Shinotsuka, Tomoichi & Suzumura, Kotaro & Xu, Yongsheng, 2007. "On the Possibility of Continuous, Paretian and Egalitarian Evaluation of Infinite Utility Streams," Discussion Paper 322, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Henrik Petri, 2019. "Asymptotic properties of welfare relations," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 67(4), pages 853-874, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social welfare function; Inequality aversion; Pigou–Dalton transfer principle; Monotonicity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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