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Progress and conservation under Rawls's maximin principle

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  • Joaquim Silvestre

    () (Department of Economics, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8578, USA)

Abstract

I argue the compatibility of progress with Rawls's maximin principle when applied to individual utility functions which are "nonaltruistic" in the sense that any transfer of consumption goods from old to young (resp. from young to old) lowers (resp. increases) old people's utility. The paper shows that necessary conditions for that compatibility are: (A) a bound on the feasible transfers from young to old, and (B) a positive intergenerational stock externality. The analysis implies that the maximin principle has the drawback of making, under mild assumptions, conservation incompatible with progress.

Suggested Citation

  • Joaquim Silvestre, 2002. "Progress and conservation under Rawls's maximin principle," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(1), pages 1-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:19:y:2002:i:1:p:1-27
    Note: Received: 15 December 1999/Accepted: 17 April 2000
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    Cited by:

    1. Michele Lombardi & Kaname Miyagishima & Roberto Veneziani, 2016. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(597), pages 2173-2196, November.
    2. Llavador, Humberto & Roemer, John E. & Silvestre, Joaquim, 2011. "“A dynamic analysis of human welfare in a warming planet”," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1607-1620.
    3. John E. Roemer & Roberto Veneziani, 2001. "What We Owe Our Children, They Their Children,..," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1326, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2013. "Should we sustain? And if so, sustain what? Consumption or the quality of life?," Chapters,in: Handbook on Energy and Climate Change, chapter 30, pages 639-665 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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