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Impartiality and Priority. Part 1: The Veil of Ignorance

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Abstract

The veil of ignorance has been used often as a tool for recommending what justice requires with respect to the distribution of wealth. We complete Harsanyi’s model of the veil of ignorance by appending information permitting interpersonal comparability of welfare. We show that the veil-of-ignorance conception of John Harsanyi, so completed, and Ronald Dworkin’s, when modeled formally, recommend wealth allocations in conflict with the prominently espoused view that priority should be given to the worse off with respect to wealth allocation.

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  • Juan Moreno-Ternero & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Impartiality and Priority. Part 1: The Veil of Ignorance," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1477A, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised May 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1477a
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edi Karni, 2003. "Impartiality and interpersonal comparisons of variations in well-being," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 21(1), pages 95-111, August.
    2. Amrita Dhillon & Jean-Francois Mertens, 1999. "Relative Utilitarianism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(3), pages 471-498, May.
    3. John E. Roemer, 2001. "Egalitarianism against the Veil of Ignorance," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1328, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Mongin, Philippe, 2001. "The impartial observer theorem of social ethics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 147-179, October.
    5. Edi Karni, 1998. "Impartiality: Definition and Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1405-1416, November.
    6. Juan Moreno-Ternero & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Impartiality and Priority. Part 2: A Characterization with Solidarity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1477B, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised May 2005.
    7. John E. Roemer, 2004. "Eclectic distributional ethics," Politics, Philosophy & Economics, , vol. 3(3), pages 267-281, October.
    8. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1977. "Extended Sympathy and the Possibility of Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 219-225, February.
    9. Uzi Segal, 2000. "Let's Agree That All Dictatorships Are Equally Bad," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 569-589, June.
    10. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434-434.
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    1. Juan Moreno-Ternero & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Impartiality and Priority. Part 2: A Characterization with Solidarity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1477B, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised May 2005.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Impartiality; Priority; Veil of ignorance;

    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

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