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Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: summable differences and finite averages

  • Jonsson, Adam

    ()

    (Department of Engineering Science and Mathematics)

  • Voorneveld, Mark

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Registered author(s):

    This paper provides axiomatic descriptions of social welfare relations, defined on infinite streams of utility, that are consistent with the utilitarian criterion on subsets where maximizing aggregate utility has a clear interpretation: the streams, or their differences, are summable. Besides standard assumptions on efficiency, equity and interpersonal comparability, two axioms are introduced and shown to be necessary and sufficient. A more general version of one axiom suffices to distinguish streams with different long-run averages.

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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0747.pdf
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    Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 747.

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    Length: 12 pages
    Date of creation: 17 Mar 2014
    Date of revision: 15 Apr 2014
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0747
    Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
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    1. Luc Lauwers, 1997. "Continuity and equity with infinite horizons," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 345-356.
    2. Brock, William A, 1970. "An Axiomatic Basis for the Ramsey- Weizsacker Overtaking Criterion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(6), pages 927-29, November.
    3. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
    4. Maskin, Eric, 1978. "A Theorem on Utilitarianism," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 93-96, February.
    5. Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, 09.
    6. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GEVERS, Louis, . "Equity and the informational basis of collective choice," CORE Discussion Papers RP -350, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    7. Luc LAUWERS, 2009. "Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces09.05, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
    8. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2003. "Utilitarianism for Infinite Utility Streams: A New Welfare Criterion and Its Axiomatic Characterization," Working Papers 03-05, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
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