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Escaping the repugnant conclusion: Rank-discounted utilitarianism with variable population

Author

Listed:
  • Stéphane Zuber

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Geir B. Asheim

    () (Department of Economics, University of Oslo - UiO - University of Oslo)

Abstract

Evaluation of climate policies and other issues requires a variable population setting where population is endogenously determined. We propose and axiomatize the rank-discounted critical-level utilitarian social welfare order. It is shown to ll out the space between critical-level utilitarianism and (a version of) critical-level leximin. Moreover, it satis fies many conditions and principles used to evaluate variable population criteria. In particular, it avoids the repugnant conclusion even when the critical level is zero.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphane Zuber & Geir B. Asheim, 2014. "Escaping the repugnant conclusion: Rank-discounted utilitarianism with variable population," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01398371, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-01398371 DOI: 10.3982/TE1338 Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01398371
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Geir B. Asheim, 2010. "Intergenerational Equity," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 197-222, September.
    2. Blackorby,Charles & Bossert,Walter & Donaldson,David J., 2005. "Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521532587, March.
    3. Carlson, Erik, 1998. "Mere Addition and Two Trilemmas of Population Ethics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 283-306, October.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1996. "Leximin population ethics," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 115-131, April.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. " Population Principles with Number-Dependent Critical Levels," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 347-368.
    6. W. M. Gorman, 1968. "The Structure of Utility Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(4), pages 367-390.
    7. Zuber, Stéphane & Asheim, Geir B., 2012. "Justifying social discounting: The rank-discounted utilitarian approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1572-1601.
    8. Palivos, Theodore & Yip, Chong K., 1993. "Optimal population size and endogenous growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 107-110.
    9. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    10. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
    11. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1989. "What Should We Do About Future Generations?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 235-253, October.
    12. Razin, Assaf & Yuen, Chi-Wa, 1995. "Utilitarian Tradeoff between Population Growth and Income Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 8(1), pages 81-87, February.
    13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Asheim, Geir B. & Zuber, Stéphane, 2016. "Evaluating intergenerational risks," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, pages 104-117.
    2. Geir B. Asheim & Stéphane Zuber, 2017. "Rank-discounting as a resolution to a dilemma in population ethics," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 17041, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    3. Boucekkine, R. & Fabbri, G. & Gozzi, F., 2014. "Egalitarianism under population change: Age structure does matter," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 86-100.
    4. Aurélie Méjean & Antonin Pottier & Stéphane Zuber & Marc Fleurbaey, 2017. "Intergenerational equity under catastrophic climate change," Working Papers 2017.25, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    5. repec:spr:sochwe:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-016-0977-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Geir B. Asheim & Stéphane Zuber, 2014. "Probability Adjusted Rank-Discounted Utilitarianism," CESifo Working Paper Series 4728, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Aurélie Méjean & Antonin Pottier & Stéphane Zuber & Marc Fleurbaey, 2017. "Intergenerational equity under catastrophic climate change," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01599453, HAL.
    8. Asheim, Geir B. & Zuber, Stéphane, 2015. "Evaluating Intergenerational Risks: Probabillity Adjusted Rank-Discounted Utilitarianism," Memorandum 06/2015, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    9. Geir B. Asheim, 2017. "Sustainable growth," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 825-848, December.
    10. Kohei Kamaga, 2016. "Infinite-horizon social evaluation with variable population size," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(1), pages 207-232, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social evaluation ; population ethics ; critical-level utilitarianism ; social discounting;

    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
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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