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On the Continuity of Ethical Social Welfare Orders

Author

Listed:
  • Banerjee, Kuntal

    (Cornell U)

  • Mitra, Tapan

    (Cornell U)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Banerjee, Kuntal & Mitra, Tapan, 2004. "On the Continuity of Ethical Social Welfare Orders," Working Papers 04-16, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:04-16
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    File URL: https://cae.economics.cornell.edu/04-16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fleurbaey, Marc & Michel, Philippe, 2003. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 777-802, September.
    2. Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, September.
    3. Brown, Donald J & Lewis, Lucinda M, 1981. "Myopic Economic Agents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(2), pages 359-368, March.
    4. Toyotaka Sakai, 2006. "Equitable Intergenerational Preferences on Restricted Domains," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 27(1), pages 41-54, August.
    5. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
    6. Luc Lauwers, 1997. "Continuity and equity with infinite horizons," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 14(2), pages 345-356.
    7. Toyotaka Sakai, 2003. "An axiomatic approach to intergenerational equity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 20(1), pages 167-176.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Chambers, 2009. "Intergenerational equity: sup, inf, lim sup, and lim inf," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(2), pages 243-252, February.
    2. Kohei Kamaga & Takashi Kojima, 2010. "On the leximin and utilitarian overtaking criteria with extended anonymity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(3), pages 377-392, September.
    3. Chiaki Hara & Tomoichi Shinotsuka & Kotaro Suzumura & Yongsheng Xu, 2008. "Continuity and egalitarianism in the evaluation of infinite utility streams," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(2), pages 179-191, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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