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Possibility Theorems for Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams Equitably

Author

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  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

  • Mitra, Tapan

    (Cornell U)

Abstract

The standard route for aggregating infinite utility streams using a real-valued representation runs into well-known difficulties as soon as we insist on the axiom of inter-generational equity. The aim of this paper is to explore what is feasible without abandoning this axiom. The paper focusses its attention on the Pareto axiom and domain restrictions. It turns out that once we weaken these requirements, realvalued aggregation becomes possible in a variety of ways (though, of course, impossibility results lurk everywhere). By establishing a series of results, this paper tries to chalk out the frontier between what is possible and what is not.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2005. "Possibility Theorems for Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams Equitably," Working Papers 05-05, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:05-05
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    File URL: https://cae.economics.cornell.edu/05-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Basu Kaushik, 1994. "Group Rationality, Utilitarianism, and Escher's Waterfall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-9, July.
    4. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Suzumura, Kotaro & Shinotsuka, Tomoichi, 2003. "On the Possibility of Continuous, Paretian and Egalitarian Evaluation of Infinite Utility Streams," Discussion Paper 189, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    6. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-1572, October.
    7. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
    8. BOSSERT, Walter & SPRUMONT, Yves & SUZUMURA, Kotaro, 2004. "The Possibility of Ordering Infinite Utility Streams," Cahiers de recherche 12-2004, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
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    Citations

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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. Juan Crespo & Carmelo Nuñez & Juan Rincón-Zapatero, 2009. "On the impossibility of representing infinite utility streams," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 40(1), pages 47-56, July.
    3. Alcantud, José Carlos R., 2010. "The compromise efficiency vs. egalitarianism among generations with an infinite horizon," MPRA Paper 22284, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. José Carlos R. Alcantud & María D. García-Sanz, 2013. "Evaluations of Infinite Utility Streams: Pareto Efficient and Egalitarian Axiomatics," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 432-447, July.
    5. Asheim, Geir B. & Mitra, Tapan, 2010. "Sustainability and discounted utilitarianism in models of economic growth," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 148-169, March.

    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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