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Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set

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  • Luc LAUWERS

Abstract

The existence of a Paretian and finitely anonymous ordering in the set of infinite utility streams implies the existence of a non-Ramsey set (a nonconstructive object whose existence requires the axiom of choice). Therefore, each Paretian and finitely anonymous quasi-ordering either is incomplete or does not have an explicit description. Hence, the possibility results of Svensson (1980) and of Bossert, Sprumont, and Suzumura (2006) do require the axiom of choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Luc LAUWERS, 2009. "Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set," Working Papers Department of Economics ces09.05, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces09.05
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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. K. Vela Velupillai, 2005. "The unreasonable ineffectiveness of mathematics in economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(6), pages 849-872, November.
    4. Asheim, Geir B. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2005. "A new equity condition for infinite utility streams and the possibility of being Paretian," Memorandum 08/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    5. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1979. "Equilibrium in supergames with the overtaking criterion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-9, August.
    6. Geir Asheim & Tapan Mitra & Bertil Tungodden, 2012. "Sustainable recursive social welfare functions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(2), pages 267-292, February.
    7. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, January.
    8. Zame, William R., 2007. "Can intergenerational equity be operationalized?," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(2), June.
    9. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
    10. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
    11. Bossert, Walter & Sprumont, Yves & Suzumura, Kotaro, 2007. "Ordering infinite utility streams," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 579-589, July.
    12. Lauwers, Luc & Vallentyne, Peter, 2004. "Infinite Utilitarianism: More Is Always Better," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(02), pages 307-330, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergenerational justice; Pareto; Multi-period social choice; Axiom of choice; Constructivism.;

    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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