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Inequality aversion and separability in social risk evaluation

Author

Listed:
  • Marc Fleurbaey

    (Woodrow Wilson School and Center for Human Values - Princeton University)

  • Stéphane Zuber

    (CERSES - UMR 8137 - Centre de recherche sens, ethique, société - UPD5 - Université Paris Descartes - Paris 5 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

This paper examines how to satisfy "independence of the utilities of the dead" (Blackorby et al. in Econometrica 63:1303-1320, 1995; Bommier and Zuber in Soc Choice Welf 31:415-434, 2008) in the class of "expected equally distributed equivalent" social orderings (Fleurbaey in J Polit Econ 118:649-680, 2010) and inquires into the possibility to keep some aversion to inequality in this context. It is shown that the social welfare function must either be utilitarian or take a special multiplicative form. The multiplicative form is compatible with any degree of inequality aversion, but only under some constraints on the range of individual utilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Fleurbaey & Stéphane Zuber, 2013. "Inequality aversion and separability in social risk evaluation," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00979778, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00979778
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-012-0730-2
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00979778
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luc Lauwers, 2016. "Intergenerational Equity, Efficiency, and Constructibility," Studies in Economic Theory, in: Graciela Chichilnisky & Armon Rezai (ed.), The Economics of the Global Environment, pages 191-206, Springer.
    2. Amrita Dhillon & Jean-Francois Mertens, 1999. "Relative Utilitarianism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(3), pages 471-498, May.
    3. Marc Fleurbaey, 2010. "Assessing Risky Social Situations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 649-680, August.
    4. 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.
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    6. Thibault Gajdos & Feriel Kandil, 2008. "The ignorant observer," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(2), pages 193-232, August.
    7. Antoine Bommier & Stéphane Zuber, 2008. "Can preferences for catastrophe avoidance reconcile social discounting with intergenerational equity?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(3), pages 415-434, October.
    8. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    9. Grant, Simon, 1995. "Subjective Probability without Monotonicity: Or How Machina's Mom May Also Be Probabilistically Sophisticated," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 159-189, January.
    10. Diez Henar & Lasso de la Vega M. Casilda & de Sarachu Amaia & Urrutia Ana M., 2007. "A Consistent Multidimensional Generalization of the Pigou-Dalton Transfer Principle: An Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-17, December.
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    13. Fleurbaey, Marc & Gajdos, Thibault & Zuber, Stéphane, 2015. "Social rationality, separability, and equity under uncertainty," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 13-22.
    14. Ralph L. Keeney, 1980. "Utility Functions for Equity and Public Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 345-353, April.
    15. Marc Fleurbaey & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 21(2), pages 243-263, October.
    16. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Loïc Berger & Johannes Emmerling, 2020. "Welfare As Equity Equivalents," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 727-752, September.
    2. Piacquadio, Paolo G., 2020. "The ethics of intergenerational risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 186(C).
    3. Fleurbaey, Marc & Zuber, Stéphane, 2015. "Discounting, beyond utilitarianism," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), vol. 9, pages 1-52.
    4. Johannes Emmerling, 2018. "Sharing Of Climate Risks Across World Regions," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 9(03), pages 1-19, August.
    5. Berger, Loïc & Emmerling, Johannes, 2017. "Welfare as Simple(x) Equity Equivalents," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways 254044, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    6. Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Pomatto, Luciano, 2020. "Aggregate risk and the Pareto principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    7. Kaname Miyagishima, 2022. "Efficiency, equity, and social rationality under uncertainty," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 73(1), pages 237-255, February.
    8. Miyagishima, Kaname, 2019. "Fair criteria for social decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 77-87.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Independence of the utilities of the dead; Ex post equity; Risk;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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