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Formal welfarism and intergenerational equity

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  • d’ASPREMONT, Claude

Abstract

The formulation of the problem of justice among generations as the problem of finding an ordering of infinite utility streams is examined within the ‘social welfare functional’ approach to social choice. This formulation usually presumes a double reduction not only the classical ‘welfarist’ reduction, according to which ‘utility’ provides all the information required to construct a social evaluation rule, but also the aggregation of the individual utility levels at each generation into a single utility level. We shall argue that this second type of reduction obliterates the relationship between the values judgments made in the social evaluation of the welfare of the presently living generation with that of future generations and does not emphasize the capacity for many social evaluation criteria (including pure utilitarianism and Leximin) to ’proliferate’ from the present generation to any larger set of generations. Our results concerning the orderings generated by such proliferating rules are compared to characterisations already given in the literature.
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Suggested Citation

  • d’ASPREMONT, Claude, 2007. "Formal welfarism and intergenerational equity," LIDAM Reprints CORE 2047, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:2047
    Note: In : J. Roemer and K. Suzumura (eds.), Intergenerational Equity and Sustainability. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 113-130, 2007
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    Cited by:

    1. Asheim, Geir B. & d'Aspremont, Claude & Banerjee, Kuntal, 2010. "Generalized time-invariant overtaking," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 519-533, July.
    2. MERTENS, Jean-François & RUBINCHIK, Anna, 2006. "Intergenerational equity and the discount rate for cost-benefit analysis," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2006091, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. Geir B. Asheim & Kuntal Banerjee, 2010. "Fixed‐step anonymous overtaking and catching‐up," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 149-165, March.
    4. Alcantud, José Carlos R. & García-Sanz, María D., 2009. "A comment on "Intergenerational equity: sup, inf, lim sup, and lim inf"," MPRA Paper 14763, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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