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Welfare Comparisons with Bounded Equivalence Scales


  • Fleurbaey, M.
  • Hagnere, C.
  • Trannoy, A.


The paper considers the problem of comparing income distributions for heterogeneous populations. Following Atkinson and Bourguignon (1987), we divide the population in different groups of needs and evaluate the social welfare with a utilitarian function. By considering the Generalized Pigou-Dalton principle introduced by Ebert (1995a), we find an implementable condition of dominance which allows to rank more distributions than the Bourguignon criteria (1989).

Suggested Citation

  • Fleurbaey, M. & Hagnere, C. & Trannoy, A., 1998. "Welfare Comparisons with Bounded Equivalence Scales," Papers 9823, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:pnegmi:9823

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ebert, Udo, 2000. "Sequential Generalized Lorenz Dominance and Transfer Principles," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 113-122, April.
    2. Stephen P. Jenkins, 1991. "Income Inequality and Living standards: Changes in the 1970s and 1980s," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 12(1), pages 1-28, February.
    3. Claude D'Aspremont & Louis Gevers, 1977. "Equity and the Informational Basis of Collective Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(2), pages 199-209.
    4. Ebert, Udo, 1997. "Social Welfare When Needs Differ: An Axiomatic Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(254), pages 233-244, May.
    5. Glewwe, Paul, 1991. "Household equivalence scales and the measurement of inequality : Transfers from the poor to the rich could decrease inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 211-216, March.
    6. Bourguignon, Francois, 1989. "Family size and social utility : Income distribution dominance criteria," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 67-80, September.
    7. Ebert U., 1996. "Income inequality and differences in household size," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 57-58, February.
    8. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-221, May.
    9. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1993. "Ranking Income Distributions When Needs Differ," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(4), pages 337-356, December.
    10. Ok, Efe A. & Lambert, Peter J., 1999. "On evaluating social welfare by sequential generalized Lorenz dominance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 45-53, April.
    11. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
    12. Bradbury, Bruce, 1997. "Measuring Poverty Changes with Bounded Equivalence Scales: Australia in the 1980s," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(254), pages 245-264, May.
    13. Chambaz, Christine & Maurin, Eric, 1998. "Atkinson and Bourguignon's Dominance Criteria: Extended and Applied to the Measurement of Poverty in France," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(4), pages 497-513, December.
    14. Jenkins, Stephen P & Cowell, Frank A, 1994. "Parametric Equivalence Scales and Scale Relativities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 891-900, July.
    15. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    16. Udo Ebert, 1999. "Using equivalent income of equivalent adults to rank income distributions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 16(2), pages 233-258.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gravel, Nicolas & Moyes, Patrick, 2012. "Ethically robust comparisons of bidimensional distributions with an ordinal attribute," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1384-1426.
    2. Marc Fleurbaey & Cyrille Hagneré & Alain Trannoy, 2007. "Welfare Comparisons of Income Distributions and Family Size," IDEP Working Papers 0702, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised 16 Jan 2007.
    3. Patrick Moyes & Alain Trannoy, 1999. "Le quotient familial : une structure fiscale cohérente avec le critère de Lorenz relatif," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 138(2), pages 111-124.
    4. DECANCQ, Koen & FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik, 2014. "Inequality, income, and well-being," CORE Discussion Papers 2014018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. Nicolas Gravel & Patrick Moyes, 2013. "Utilitarianism or welfarism: does it make a difference?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 40(2), pages 529-551, February.
    6. Ooghe, Erwin & Lambert, Peter, 2006. "On bounded dominance criteria," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 15-30, July.
    7. Lambert, Peter J & Ramos, Xavier, 2002. "Welfare Comparisons: Sequential Procedures for Heterogeneous Populations," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(276), pages 549-562, November.
    8. Nicolas Gravel & Patrick Moyes, 2006. "Ethically Robust Comparisons of Distributions of Two Individual Attributes," IDEP Working Papers 0605, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised Aug 2006.
    9. Muller, Christophe, 2005. "Price index dispersion and utilitarian social evaluation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 141-146, November.
    10. Nicolas Gravel & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, 2010. "Is India better off today than 15 years ago? A robust multidimensional answer," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(2), pages 173-195, June.
    11. S. Chandrasekhar & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, 2009. "Poverty in Indian cities during the reforms era," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 09-07, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
    12. Hutchens, Robert M., 2012. "Measuring Segregation When Hierarchy Matters," IZA Discussion Papers 6667, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Laurens Cherchye & Erwin Ooghe & Tom Puyenbroeck, 2008. "Robust human development rankings," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(4), pages 287-321, December.
    14. Moyes, Patrick, 2012. "Comparisons of heterogeneous distributions and dominance criteria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1351-1383.
    15. Udo Ebert, 2010. "Dominance criteria for welfare comparisons: using equivalent income to describe differences in needs," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(1), pages 55-67, July.
    16. Anthony Shorrocks, 2004. "Inequality and welfare evaluation of heterogeneous income distributions," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 2(3), pages 193-218, July.
    17. Jorge Onrubia Fern·ndez & MarÌa del Carmen Rodado Ruiz, 2015. "oGravamen individual o grupal en el IRPF? Una valoraciÛn desde la movilidad distributiva," Studies on the Spanish Economy eee2015-01, FEDEA.
    18. N. GRAVEL & Patrick MOYES (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2008. "Bidimensional Inequalities with an Ordinal Variable," Cahiers du GREThA 2008-14, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    19. Bosmans, Kristof & Lauwers, Luc & Ooghe, Erwin, 2009. "A consistent multidimensional Pigou-Dalton transfer principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1358-1371, May.
    20. Magne Mogstad, 2007. "Measuring Income Inequality under Restricted Interpersonal Comparability," Discussion Papers 498, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    21. Fleurbaey, Marc & Hagneré, Cyrille & Trannoy, Alain, 2014. "Welfare comparisons of income distributions and family size: An individualistic approach," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 12-27.

    More about this item



    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution


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