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Assessing risky social situations

  • Marc Fleurbaey

This paper re-examines the welfare economics of risk. It singles out a class of criteria, the “expected equally-distributed equivalent”, as the unique class which avoids serious drawbacks of existing approaches. Such criteria behave like ex-post criteria when the final statistical distribution of wellbeing is known ex ante, and like ex-ante criteria when risk generates no inequality. The paper also provides a new result on the tension between inequality aversion and respect of individual ex ante preferences, in the vein of Harsanyi’s aggregation theorem.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27006/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 27006.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:27006
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Itzhak Gilboa & Elchanan Ben-Porath & David Schmeidler, 1997. "On the Measurement of Inequality under Uncertainty," Post-Print hal-00481334, HAL.
  2. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1998. "Chance and justice: Social policies and the Harsanyi-Vickrey-Rawls problem," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1393-1416, September.
  3. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  4. John Leach, 2007. "Ex Post Welfare under Alternative Health Care Systems," Department of Economics Working Papers 2007-05, McMaster University.
  5. Broome,John, 1999. "Ethics out of Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521642750, 1.
  6. Alon Harel & Zvi Safra & Uzi Segal, 2003. "Ex-Post Egalitarianism," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 563, Boston College Department of Economics.
  7. B. Dahlby, 1981. "Adverse selection and Pareto improvements through compulsory insurance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 547-558, January.
  8. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Equity in Two Person Situations: Some Consequences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1127-35, September.
  9. Gajdos, Thibault & Maurin, Eric, 2004. "Unequal uncertainties and uncertain inequalities: an axiomatic approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 93-118, May.
  10. MONGIN, Philippe, 1993. "Consistent Bayesian Aggregation," CORE Discussion Papers 1993019, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Hammond, P.J. & , ., 1987. "Consequentialist foundations for expected utility," CORE Discussion Papers 1987016, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. Philip J. Cook & Daniel A. Graham, 1977. "The Demand for Insurance and Protection: The Case of Irreplaceable Commodities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(1), pages 143-156.
  13. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
  14. Machina, Mark J, 1982. ""Expected Utility" Analysis without the Independence Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 277-323, March.
  15. Hammond, Peter J, 1989. "Consistent Plans, Consequentialism, and Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1445-49, November.
  16. Ralph L. Keeney, 1980. "Utility Functions for Equity and Public Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 345-353, April.
  17. Antoine Bommier & Stéphane Zuber, 2008. "Can preferences for catastrophe avoidance reconcile social discounting with intergenerational equity?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 415-434, October.
  18. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1996. "Willingness to Pay and the Distribution of Risk and Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 747-63, August.
  19. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Equity, Arrow's Conditions, and Rawls' Difference Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 793-804, July.
  20. John Roemer, 2006. "The Global Welfare Economics of Immigration," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 311-325, October.
  21. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  22. Epstein, Larry G & Segal, Uzi, 1992. "Quadratic Social Welfare Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 691-712, August.
  23. Hammond, Peter J, 1981. "Ex-ante and Ex-post Welfare Optimality under Uncertainty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(191), pages 235-50, August.
  24. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  25. Alon Harel, 2005. "Ex-Post Egalitarianism and Legal Justice," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 57-75, April.
  26. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00085940 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Myerson, Roger B, 1981. "Utilitarianism, Egalitarianism, and the Timing Effect in Social Choice Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 883-97, June.
  28. Maurice Salles, 2005. "Social Choice," Post-Print halshs-00337075, HAL.
  29. Chambers, Christopher & Takashi Hayashi, 2003. "Preference Aggregation under Uncertainty: Savage vs. Pareto," Working Papers 1184, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  30. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  31. Broome, John, 2004. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199243761, July.
  32. Grant, Simon, 1995. "Subjective Probability without Monotonicity: Or How Machina's Mom May Also Be Probabilistically Sophisticated," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 159-89, January.
  33. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2009. "Two variants of Harsanyi's aggregation theorem," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 300-302, December.
  34. repec:oup:restud:v:54:y:1987:i:2:p:209-26 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Charles Blackorby & David Donaldson & Philippe Mongin, 2004. "Social Aggregation Without the Expected Utility Hypothesis," Working Papers hal-00242932, HAL.
  36. repec:oup:restud:v:60:y:1993:i:2:p:487-93 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. Broome, John, 1984. "Uncertainty and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(375), pages 624-32, September.
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