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Responsibility and redistribution: The case of first best taxation


  • Bertil Tungodden



It is not straightforward to define the ethics of responsibility in cases where the consequences of changes in factors within our control are partly determined by factors beyond our control. In this paper, we suggest that one plausible view is to keep us responsible for the parts of the consequences that are independent of the factors beyond our control. Within the framework of a first best taxation problem, we present and characterise a redistributive mechanism that both satisfies this interpretation of the ethics of responsibility and the ethics of compensation within a broad class of economic environments. However, on a general basis, even this weaker version of the ethics of responsibility is not compatible with the ethics of compensation, and we report an impossibility result that clarifies the source of this conflict. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Bertil Tungodden, 2005. "Responsibility and redistribution: The case of first best taxation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 24(1), pages 33-44, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:24:y:2005:i:1:p:33-44
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-003-0267-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bossert W., 1996. "Redistribution mechanisms based on individual characteristics," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 51-51, February.
    2. Roemer, J.E., 1992. "A Pragmatic Theory of Responsibility for the Egalitarian Planner," Papers 391, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    3. Sprumont, Yves, 1997. "Balanced egalitarian redistribution of income," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 185-201, June.
    4. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equal Opportunity or Equal Social Outcome?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 25-55, April.
    5. Moulin, Herve, 1994. "Social choice," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 31, pages 1091-1125 Elsevier.
    6. Fleurbaey Marc, 1995. "Three Solutions for the Compensation Problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 505-521, April.
    7. Maurice Salles, 2005. "Social Choice," Post-Print halshs-00337075, HAL.
    8. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equality and responsibility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 683-689, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. José-Manuel Giménez-Gómez & Josep E. Peris, 2015. "Participation and Solidarity in Redistribution Mechanisms," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 036-048, October.
    2. Moulin, Herve & Sprumont, Yves, 2006. "Responsibility and cross-subsidization in cost sharing," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 152-188, April.
    3. repec:spr:sochwe:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-016-1016-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1288-1332, December.
    5. Alexander Cappelen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "Local autonomy and interregional equality," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 28(3), pages 443-460, April.
    6. Ismael Rodriguez-Lara & Luis Moreno-Garrido, 2012. "Modeling Inequity Aversion in a Dictator Game with Production," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-12, October.
    7. Alexander Cappelen & Bertil Tungodden, 2009. "Rewarding effort," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 39(3), pages 425-441, June.
      • Cappelen, Alexander W. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2004. "Rewarding effort," Memorandum 15/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    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
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


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