IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social welfare, inequality, and poverty when needs differ


  • Udo Ebert



The paper examines income distributions of a finite population consisting of households which may differ with respect to needs. Since observed incomes are not directly comparable, income distributions have to be adjusted. Incomes are transformed to equivalent incomes interpreted as living standards and measured for a reference type, and the latter are supplemented by weights depending on needs. A general class of social welfare orderings (being based on adjusted rank-ordered income distributions) is characterized by a set of properties. Severe limitations for the form of the adjustment process are implied. The consequences for the measurement of inequality and poverty are demonstrated, and corresponding orderings are derived. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Udo Ebert, 2004. "Social welfare, inequality, and poverty when needs differ," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 23(3), pages 415-448, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:23:y:2004:i:3:p:415-448
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-003-0266-2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2006. "Investment behavior under ambiguity: The case of pessimistic decision makers," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 111-130, September.
    2. Eric Danan & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2004. "Are preferences incomplete? An experimental study using flexible choices," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-23, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    3. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2009. "Temptation-Driven Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 937-971.
    4. Klaus Nehring, 1999. "Preference for Flexibility in a Savage Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 101-120, January.
    5. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L & Rustichini, Aldo, 2001. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 891-934, July.
    6. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1990. "Behaviorally consistent optimal stopping rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 391-402, August.
    7. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2004. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 119-158, January.
    8. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1987. "Expected utility with purely subjective non-additive probabilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 65-88, February.
    9. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Biermann, 2016. "How Fuel Poverty Affects Subjective Well-Being: Panel Evidence from Germany," Working Papers V-395-16, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2016.
    2. Nicolas Gravel & Patrick Moyes, 2013. "Utilitarianism or welfarism: does it make a difference?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 40(2), pages 529-551, February.
    3. Udo Ebert, 2010. "Equity-regarding poverty measures: differences in needs and the role of equivalence scales," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(1), pages 301-322, February.
    4. Udo Ebert, 2011. "The redistribution of income when needs differ," Working Papers V-331-11, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2011.
    5. repec:old:wpaper:331 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Udo Ebert, 2005. "Optimal Anti-Poverty Programmes: Horizontal Equity and the Paradox of Targeting," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 453-468, August.
    7. Udo Ebert, 2008. "Living Standard, Social Welfare, and the Redistribution of Income in a Heterogeneous Population," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(5), pages 873-889, October.
    8. Kirsten Rohde, 2010. "The hyperbolic factor: A measure of time inconsistency," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 125-140, October.
    9. Luis José Imedio Olmedo & Encarnación Macarena Parrado Gallardo & María Dolores Sarrión Gavilán, 2005. "Horizontal equity, equal progression: an utilitarian approach," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 174(3), pages 87-115, September.
    10. repec:zbw:hohpro:331 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:23:y:2004:i:3:p:415-448. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.