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An informationally parsimonious impartial observer theorem

Author

Listed:
  • Edi Karni

    (Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA)

  • John A. Weymark

    (Department of Economics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z1)

Abstract

In Harsanyi's impartial observer theorem, an impartial observer determines a social ordering of the lotteries on the set of social alternatives based on a sympathetic but impartial concern for all individuals in society. This ordering is derived from a more primitive ordering on the set of all extended lotteries. An extended lottery is a lottery which determines both the observer's personal identity and the social alternative. We establish a version of Harsanyi's theorem in which the observer is only required to have preferences on the extended lotteries in which there is an equal chance of being any person in society.

Suggested Citation

  • Edi Karni & John A. Weymark, 1998. "An informationally parsimonious impartial observer theorem," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 15(3), pages 321-332.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:15:y:1998:i:3:p:321-332
    Note: Received: 19 June 1996 / Accepted: 30 December 1996
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    Cited by:

    1. Thibault Gajdos & Feriel Kandil, 2008. "The ignorant observer," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(2), pages 193-232, August.
    2. Grant, Simon & Kajii, Atsushi & Polak, Ben & Safra, Zvi, 2012. "Equally-distributed equivalent utility, ex post egalitarianism and utilitarianism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1545-1571.
    3. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak, 2003. "Accidents of Birth, Life Chances and the Impartial Observer," ISER Discussion Paper 0582, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    4. Uzi Segal, 2000. "Let's Agree That All Dictatorships Are Equally Bad," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 569-589, June.
    5. Marcus Pivato, 2009. "Twofold optimality of the relative utilitarian bargaining solution," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(1), pages 79-92, January.
    6. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00115722 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Grant, Simon & Kajii, A. & Polak, B., 2002. "Accident of Birth, Life Chances adn the Impartial Observer," Working Papers 2002-08, Rice University, Department of Economics.

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