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Justifying Sustainability

  • Asheim, G.B.
  • Buchholz, W.
  • Tungodden, B.

In the framework of ethical social choice theory, sustainability is justified by Efficiency and Equity as ethical axioms. These axioms correspond to the Suppes-Sen Grading principle. In technologies that are productive in a certain sense, the set of Suppes-Sen maximal utility paths is shown to equal the set of non-decreasing and efficient paths. Since any such path is sustainable, Efficiency and Equity can thus be used to deem any unsustainable path as ethically unacceptable. This finding is contrasted with results that seem to indicate that an infinite number of generations cannot be treated equally.

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Paper provided by Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration- in its series Papers with number 5/99.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:norgee:5/99
Contact details of provider: Postal: NORWEGIAN SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, HELLEVEIEN 30, 5035 BERGEN SANDVIKEN NORWAY.
Phone: 5595 9000
Fax: 5595 9100
Web page: http://www.nhh.no/
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  1. Asheim, Geir B., 1991. "Unjust intergenerational allocations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 350-371, August.
  2. Kirk Hamilton, 1995. "Sustainable development, the Hartwick rule and optimal growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(4), pages 393-411, June.
  3. Jeffrey A. Krautkraemer, 1998. "Nonrenewable Resource Scarcity," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 2065-2107, December.
  4. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Donald J. Brown & Lucinda M. Lewis, 1978. "Myopic Economic Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 481, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GEVERS, Louis, . "Equity and the informational basis of collective choice," CORE Discussion Papers RP -350, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Geir B. Asheim, 1996. "Ethical preferences in the presence of resource constraints," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 23, pages 55-67.
  8. Luc Lauwers, 1997. "Continuity and equity with infinite horizons," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 345-356.
  9. Dasgupta, Swapan & Mitra, Tapan, 1983. "Intergenerational Equity and Efficient Allocation of Exhaustible Resources," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(1), pages 133-53, February.
  10. Mongin, P & d'Aspremont, C, 1996. "Utility Theory and Ethics," Papers 9632, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  11. Van Liedekerke, Luc & Lauwers, Luc, 1997. "Sacrificing the Patrol: Utilitarianism, Future Generations and Infinity," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 159-174, October.
  12. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A, 1984. "Social Choice with Interpersonal Utility Comparisons: A Diagrammatic Introduction," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(2), pages 327-56, June.
  13. Marc Fleurbaey & Philippe Michel, 1999. "Quelques réflexions sur la croissance optimale," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 50(4), pages 715-732.
  14. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1995. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," MPRA Paper 8609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Chichilnisky, G., 1994. "Sustainable Development and Social Choice," Papers 94-02, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  16. Kjell Arne Brekke & Geir B. Asheim, 2002. "Sustainability when capital management has stochastic consequences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 921-940.
  17. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Equity, Arrow's Conditions, and Rawls' Difference Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 793-804, July.
  18. Cass, David, 1990. "Indefinitely sustained consumption despite exhaustible natural resources," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9027, CEPREMAP.
  19. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
  20. Marc FLEURBAEY & Philippe MICHEL, 1994. "Optimal Growth and Transfers between Generations," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1994031, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  21. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1997. "What Is Sustainable Development?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 467-491.
  22. John C. V. Pezzey, 1997. "Sustainability Constraints versus "Optimality" versus Intertemporal Concern, and Axioms versus Data," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 448-466.
  23. Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  24. repec:cai:recosp:reco_p1999_50n4_0715 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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