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A welfarist version of Harsanyi's aggregation theorem


  • d’ASPREMONT, Claude
  • MONGIN, Philippe


Harsanyi’s Aggregation Theorem has often been dismissed as being irrelevant to utilitarianism, and thus void of ethical content. Some of these objections can be met by reformulating Harsanyi’s theorem in the multi-profile context of Social Welfare Functionals theory. The present paper aims at showing that appropriately formulated single-profile variants of the theorem also meet the objections, and thus arguably make sense in terms of utilitarianism. More precisely, using an “enlarged” single-profile approach, we derive a Harsanyi-like representation which is both anonymous and compatible with meaningful comparisons of cardinal utility functions. These results depend on reformulating Harsanyi’s aggregation theorem in the social-choice theoretic framework of welfarism.
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Suggested Citation

  • d’ASPREMONT, Claude & MONGIN, Philippe, 2009. "A welfarist version of Harsanyi's aggregation theorem," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2033, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:2033 Note: In : M. Fleurbaey, M. Salles and J.A. Weymark (eds.), Justice, Political Liberalism, and Utilitarianism. New York, Cambridge University Press, 184-197, 2008

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2004. "The pay-as-you-go pension system as fertility insurance and an enforcement device," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1335-1357, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. d'Aspremont, Claude & Gevers, Louis, 2002. "Social welfare functionals and interpersonal comparability," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 459-541 Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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