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The ignorant observer

  • Thibault Gajdos

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Feriel Kandil

    ()

    (CERC - CONSEIL DE L'EMPLOI, DES REVENUS ET DE LA COHESION SOCIALE - Conseil de l'Emploi, des Revenus et de la Cohésion sociale)

We propose an extension of Harsanyi's Impartial Observer Theorem based on the representation of ignorance as the set of all possible probability distributions over individuals. We obtain a characterization of the observer's preferences that, under our most restrictive conditions, is a convex combination of Harsanyi's utilitarian and Rawls' egalitarian criteria. This representation is ethically meaningful, in the sense that individuals' utilities are cardinally measurable and fully comparable. This allows us to conclude that the impartiality requirement cannot be used to decide between Rawls' and Harsanyi's positions.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00177374.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: Published, Social Choice and Welfare, 2008, 31, 2, 193-232
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00177374
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00177374
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  3. John a. Weymark, 2004. "Measurement Theory and the Foundations of Utilitarianism," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 415, Econometric Society.
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  5. Thibault Gajdos & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2004. "Decision Making with Imprecise Probabilistic Information," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00086021, HAL.
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  34. Thibault Gajdos & Takashi Hayashi & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2006. "Attitude toward imprecise information," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00130179, HAL.
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