Comparing degrees of inequality aversion
We propose a straightforward dominance procedure for comparing social welfare orderings (SWOs) with respect to the degree of inequality aversion they express. We consider three versions of the procedure: (i) a criterion based on the Lorenz quasi-ordering which we argue to be the ideal version, (ii) a criterion based on a minimalist concept of inequality, and (iii) a criterion based on the relative differentials quasi-ordering. It turns out that the traditional Arrow-Pratt approach is equivalent to the latter two criteria for important classes of SWOs, but that it is profoundly inconsistent with the Lorenz-based criterion. With respect to the problem of combining extreme inequality aversion and monotonicity, criteria (ii) and (iii) identify as extremely inequality averse a set of SWOs that includes leximin as a special case, whereas the Lorenz-based criterion concludes that extreme inequality aversion and monotonicity are incompatible.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2005|
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