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A concern about low relative income, and the alignment of utilitarianism with egalitarianism

Author

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  • Stark, Oded
  • Kobus, Martyna
  • Jakubek, Marcin

Abstract

A utilitarian social planner who maximizes social welfare assigns the available income to those who are most efficient in converting income into utility. However, when individuals are concerned about their income falling behind the incomes of others, the optimal income distribution under utilitarianism is equality of incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Stark, Oded & Kobus, Martyna & Jakubek, Marcin, 2011. "A concern about low relative income, and the alignment of utilitarianism with egalitarianism," Discussion Papers 117257, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ubzefd:117257
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/117257
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2011. "Migration for degrading work as an escape from humiliation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 241-247, March.
    2. Oded Stark, 2010. "Looking at the Integration of Nations through the Lens of the Merger of Populations: Preliminary Superadditivity and Impossibility Results," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(IV), pages 661-675, December.
    3. Wagner, Alfred, 1891. "Marshall's Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
    4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.
    5. Oded Stark & Walter Hyll & Yong Wang, 2012. "Endogenous Selection of Comparison Groups, Human Capital Formation, and Tax Policy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(313), pages 62-75, January.
    6. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:03 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. C. Simon Fan & Oded Stark, 2011. "A Theory Of Migration As A Response To Occupational Stigma," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 549-571, May.
    8. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-324.
    9. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931.
    10. Daniel J. Zizzo & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others'Incomes?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 63-64, pages 39-65.
    11. Tinbergen, Jan, 1970. "A Positive and a Normative Theory of Income Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 16(3), pages 221-234, September.
    12. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:04 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    14. Oded Stark & Walter Hyll, 2011. "On the Economic Architecture of the Workplace: Repercussions of Social Comparisons among Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 349-375.
    15. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-1178, September.
    16. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stark, Oded, 2013. "On the economics of others," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 62, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Utilitarianism; Income equality; Social welfare maximization; Relative income; Labor and Human Capital; H0; I0; I30; I31;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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