Comparing degrees of inequality aversion
We propose a straightforward dominance procedure for comparing social welfare orderings (SWOs) with respect to the degree of inequality aversion they express. Three versions of the procedure are considered, each of which uses a different underlying criterion of inequality comparisons: (i) a concept based on the Lorenz quasi-ordering, which we argue to be the ideal version, (ii) a concept based on a minimalist criterion of inequality, and (iii) a concept based on the relative differentials quasi-ordering. It turns out that the traditional Arrow-Pratt approach is equivalent to the latter two concepts for important classes of SWOs, but that it is profoundly inconsistent with the Lorenz-based concept. With respect to the problem of combining extreme inequality aversion and monotonicity, concepts (ii) and (iii) identify as extremely inequality averse a class of SWOs that includes leximin as a special case, whereas the Lorenz-based concept (i) concludes that extreme inequality aversion and monotonicity are incompatible.
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Volume (Year): 29 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (October)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Tungodden, Bertil, 2000.
"Egalitarianism: Is Leximin the Only Option?,"
Economics and Philosophy,
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- Tungodden, B., 1999. "Egalitarianism: Is Leximin the Only Option?," Papers 4/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
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- Alain Chateauneuf & Patrick Moyes, 2004. "Lorenz non-consistent welfare and inequality measurement," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 2(2), pages 61-87, August.
- Alain Chateauneuf & Patrick Moyes, 2004. "Lorenz Non-Consistent Welfare and Inequality Measurement," IDEP Working Papers 0406, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised May 2004.
- Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)