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. We consider three versions of the procedure: (i) a criterion based on the Lorenz quasi-ordering which we argue to be the ideal version, (ii) a criterion based on a minimalist concept of inequality, and (iii) a criterion based on the relative differentials quasi-ordering. It turns out that the traditional Arrow-Pratt approach is equivalent to the latter two criteria for important classes of SWOs, but that it is profoundly inconsistent with the Lorenz-based criterion. With respect to the problem of combining extreme inequality aversion and monotonicity, criteria (ii) and (iii) identify as extremely inequality averse a set of SWOs that includes leximin as a special case, whereas the Lorenz-based criterion 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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- Alain Chateauneuf & Patrick Moyes, 2005.
"Lorenz non-consistent welfare and inequality measurement,"
Journal of Economic Inequality,
Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 61-87, January.
- Alain Chateauneuf & Patrick Moyes, 2004. "Lorenz non-consistent welfare and inequality measurement," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, 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.
- Tungodden, Bertil, 2000.
"Egalitarianism: Is Leximin the Only Option?,"
Economics and Philosophy,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 229-245, October.
- Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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