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Possibility Theorems for Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams Equitably

  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

  • Mitra, Tapan

    (Cornell U)

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.

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Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05-05.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:05-05
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  1. FLEURBAEY, Marc & MICHEL, Philippe, 1997. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," CORE Discussion Papers 1997004, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. 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.
  3. 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, 09.
  4. BOSSERT, Walter & SPRUMONT, Yves & SUZUMURA, Kotaro, 2004. "The Possibility of Ordering Infinite Utility Streams," Cahiers de recherche 2004-09, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  5. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "On Weights and Measures: Informational Constraints in Social Welfare Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(7), pages 1539-72, October.
  7. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
  8. Basu Kaushik, 1994. "Group Rationality, Utilitarianism, and Escher's Waterfall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-9, July.
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