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On the Continuity of Ethical Social Welfare Orders

  • Banerjee, Kuntal

    (Cornell U)

  • Mitra, Tapan

    (Cornell U)

In this paper we study the extent to which ethical social welfare orders on infinite utility streams can be continuous. For a class of metrics, we show that ethical preferences can be continuous if and only if the continuity requirement is in terms of a metric which satisfies a simplex condition. This condition requires that the distance from the origin to the unit simplex in the space of utility streams be positive. We use this characterization result to establish that the metric used by Svensson (1980) induces the weakest topology for which there exist continuous ethical preferences.

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Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04-16.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:04-16
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  1. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with Inter-generational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Working Papers 03-03, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  2. Donald J. Brown & Lucinda M. Lewis, 1978. "Myopic Economic Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 481, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
  4. Toyotaka Sakai, 2006. "Equitable Intergenerational Preferences on Restricted Domains," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 41-54, August.
  5. M. Fleurbaey & P. Michel, 1997. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," THEMA Working Papers 97-11, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  6. Toyotaka Sakai, 2003. "An axiomatic approach to intergenerational equity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 167-176.
  7. Luc Lauwers, 1997. "Continuity and equity with infinite horizons," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 345-356.
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