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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 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. Amrita Dhillon & Jean-Francois Mertens, 1999. "Relative Utilitarianism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(3), pages 471-498, May.
    2. Marc Fleurbaey, 2010. "Assessing Risky Social Situations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 649-680, August.
    3. 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.
    4. Peter A. Diamond, 1967. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparison of Utility: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 765-765.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    11. 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.
    12. Fleurbaey, Marc & Gajdos, Thibault & Zuber, Stéphane, 2015. "Social rationality, separability, and equity under uncertainty," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 13-22.
    13. Ralph L. Keeney, 1980. "Utility Functions for Equity and Public Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 345-353, April.
    14. 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.
    15. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    16. Luc Lauwers, 2012. "Intergenerational equity, efficiency, and constructibility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(2), pages 227-242, February.
    17. Foster, James E. & Shneyerov, Artyom A., 2000. "Path Independent Inequality Measures," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 199-222, April.
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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. 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.
    3. Berger, Loïc & Emmerling, Johannes, 2017. "Welfare as Simple(x) Equity Equivalents," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways 254044, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    4. Piacquadio, Paolo G., 2020. "The ethics of intergenerational risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 186(C).
    5. Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Pomatto, Luciano, 2020. "Aggregate risk and the Pareto principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    6. Fleurbaey, Marc & Zuber, Stéphane, 2015. "Discounting, beyond utilitarianism," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 9, pages 1-52.
    7. Johannes Emmerling, 2014. "Sharing of Climate Risks across World Regions," Working Papers 2014.78, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    8. Miyagishima, Kaname, 2019. "Fair criteria for social decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 77-87.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Independence of the utilities of the dead; Ex post equity; Risk;

    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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