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Inequality aversion and separability in social risk evaluation

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  • FLEURBAEY, Marc

    () (CERSES, Université Paris Descartes & CNRS, France and Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, B- 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

  • ZUBER, Stéphane

    () (CERSES, Université Paris Descartes & CNRS, France and Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, B- 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

Abstract

This paper examines how to satisfy a separability condition related to “independence of the utilities of the dead” (Blackorby et al., 1995; Bommier and Zuber, 2008) in the class of “expected equally distributed equivalent” social orderings (Fleurbaey, 2010). It also inquires into the possibility to keep some aversion to inequality in this context. It is shown that the social welfare function must either be utilitarian or take a special multiplicative form. The multiplicative form is compatible with any degree of inequality aversion, but only under some constraints on the range of individual utilities.

Suggested Citation

  • FLEURBAEY, Marc & ZUBER, Stéphane, 2011. "Inequality aversion and separability in social risk evaluation," CORE Discussion Papers 2011023, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2011023
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marc Fleurbaey & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 21(2), pages 243-263, October.
    2. Amrita Dhillon & Jean-Francois Mertens, 1999. "Relative Utilitarianism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(3), pages 471-498, May.
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    4. Marc Fleurbaey, 2010. "Assessing Risky Social Situations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 649-680, August.
    5. Thibault Gajdos & Feriel Kandil, 2008. "The ignorant observer," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(2), pages 193-232, August.
    6. Geir Asheim & Tapan Mitra & Bertil Tungodden, 2012. "Sustainable recursive social welfare functions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(2), pages 267-292, February.
    7. Fleurbaey, Marc & Gajdos, Thibault & Zuber, Stéphane, 2015. "Social rationality, separability, and equity under uncertainty," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 13-22.
    8. Epstein, Larry G & Segal, Uzi, 1992. "Quadratic Social Welfare Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 691-712, August.
    9. Peter A. Diamond, 1967. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparison of Utility: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 765-765.
    10. Grant, Simon, 1995. "Subjective Probability without Monotonicity: Or How Machina's Mom May Also Be Probabilistically Sophisticated," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 159-189, January.
    11. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    12. Luc Lauwers, 2012. "Intergenerational equity, efficiency, and constructibility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(2), pages 227-242, February.
    13. Antoine Bommier & Stéphane Zuber, 2008. "Can preferences for catastrophe avoidance reconcile social discounting with intergenerational equity?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(3), pages 415-434, October.
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    15. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    16. Foster, James E. & Shneyerov, Artyom A., 2000. "Path Independent Inequality Measures," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 199-222, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fleurbaey, Marc & Zuber, Stéphane, 2015. "Discounting, beyond utilitarianism," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 9, pages 1-52.
    2. Piacquadio, Paolo G., 2015. "The Ethics of Intergenerational Risk," Memorandum 15/2015, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    3. Loïc Berger & Johannes Emmerling, 2017. "Welfare as Simple(x) Equity Equivalents," Working Papers 2017.14, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Johannes Emmerling, 2014. "Sharing of Climate Risks across World Regions," Working Papers 2014.78, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    risk; ex post equity; independence of the utilities of the dead;

    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
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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