IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Combining Rights and Welfarism: A New Approach to Intertemporal Evaluation of Social Alternatives

  • Ngo Van Long
  • Vincent Martinet

We propose a new criterion which reflects both the concern for welfare (utility) and the concern for rights in the evaluation of economic development paths. The concern for rights is captured by a pre-ordering over combinations of thresholds (floors or ceilings on various quantitative indicators) that serve as constraints on actions and on levels of state variables. These thresholds are interpreted as minimal rights to be guaranteed to all generations. They are endogenously chosen within the set of all feasible thresholds, accounting for the “cost in terms of welfare” of achieving these rights. We apply the criterion to several examples, including the standard Dasgupta-Heal-Solow model of resource extraction and capital accumulation. We show that if the weight given to rights in the criterion is sufficiently high, the optimal solution may be on the threshold possibility frontier. The development path is then “driven” by the rights. In particular, if a minimal consumption is considered as a right, constant consumption can be optimal even with a positive utility discount rate. The shadow prices of thresholds play an important role in the determination of the rate of discount to be applied to social investment projects.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3746.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3746
Contact details of provider: Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Suzumura, Kotaro & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2006. "On Initial Conferment of Individual Rights," Discussion Paper Series a478, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Gaertner, Wulf & Pattanaik, Prasanta K & Suzumura, Kotaro, 1992. "Individual Rights Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(234), pages 161-77, May.
  3. Takayama,Akira, 1985. "Mathematical Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521314985.
  4. Geir Asheim & Stéphane Zuber, 2013. "A complete and strongly anonymous leximin relation on infinite streams," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 819-834, October.
  5. Long, Ngo Van, 1979. "Two Theorems on Generalized Diminishing Returns and Their Applications to Economic Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 55(148), pages 58-63, March.
  6. Kotaro Suzumura, 2005. "An interview with Paul Samuelson: welfare economics, “old” and “new”, and social choice theory," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 327-356, December.
  7. Bezalel Peleg, 1997. "Effectivity functions, game forms, games, and rights," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 67-80.
  8. Antoine d'Autume & John M. Hartwick & Katheline Schubert, 2009. "The zero discounting and maximin optimal paths in a simple model of global warming," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 09013, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  9. ALVAREZ-CUADRADO, Francisco & LONG, Ngo Van, 2007. "A Mixed Bentham-Rawls Criterion for Intergenerational Equity : Theory and Implications," Cahiers de recherche 06-2007, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  10. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
  11. Martinet, Vincent, 2011. "A characterization of sustainability with indicators," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 183-197, March.
  12. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Moreaux, Michel & Tidball, Mabel, 2006. "Ordering the Extraction of Polluting Nonrenewable Resources," IDEI Working Papers 415, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  13. Martinet, V. & Doyen, L., 2007. "Sustainability of an economy with an exhaustible resource: A viable control approach," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 17-39, January.
  14. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
  15. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Liberty, Unanimity and Rights," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(171), pages 217-45, August.
  16. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Sugden, Robert, 1985. "Liberty, Preference, and Choice," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 213-229, October.
  18. Kenneth Stollery, 1998. "Constant Utility Paths and Irreversible Global Warming," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 730-742, August.
  19. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-57, Jan.-Feb..
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3746. 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: (Julio Saavedra)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.