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The limit of discounted utilitarianism

  • Jonsson, Adam

    ()

    (Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics)

  • Voorneveld, Mark

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

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    This paper presents an infinite-horizon version of intergenerational utilitarianism. By studying discounted utilitarianism as the discount factor tends to one, we obtain a new welfare criterion: limit-discounted utilitarianism (LDU). We show that LDU meets standard assumptions on efficiency, equity, and interpersonal comparability, but allows us to compare more pairs of utility streams than commonly-used utilitarian criteria do, including the overtaking criterion and the catching-up criterion. We also introduce a principle of compensation for postponements of utility streams and use it to characterize the LDU criterion on a restricted domain.

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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0748.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 748.

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    Length: 16 pages
    Date of creation: 17 Mar 2014
    Date of revision: 24 Apr 2014
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0748
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    1. Banerjee, Kuntal & Dubey, Ram Sewak, 2013. "Impatience implication of weakly Paretian orders: Existence and genericity," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 134-140.
    2. Dutta, P.K., 1991. "What Do Discounted Optima Converge To? A Theory of Discount Rate Asymptotics in Economic Models," RCER Working Papers 264, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    3. ASHEIM, Geir B. & d’ASPREMONT, Claude & BANERJEE, Kuntal, . "Generalized time-invariant overtaking," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2239, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with Inter-generational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Working Papers 03-03, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    5. Geir B. Asheim & Kuntal Banerjee, 2009. "Fixed-step anonymous overtaking and catching-up," Working Papers 09001, Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University.
    6. 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.
    7. FLEURBAEY, Marc & MICHEL, Philippe, 1997. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," CORE Discussion Papers 1997004, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    8. Lauwers, Luc, 2010. "Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 32-37, January.
    9. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-56, July.
    10. Kamaga, Kohei & Kojima, Takashi, 2008. "On the leximin and utilitarian overtaking criteria with extended anonymity," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 392, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    11. Sakai, Toyotaka, 2008. "Intergenerational equity and an explicit construction of welfare criteria," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 395, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    12. Dutta, Prajit K., 1991. "What do discounted optima converge to?: A theory of discount rate asymptotics in economic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 64-94, October.
    13. Asheim,G.B. & Buchholz,W. & Tungodden,B., 1999. "Justifying sustainability," Memorandum 08/1999, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    14. Banerjee, Kuntal & Dubey, Ram, 2011. "Impatience for Weakly Paretian Orders: Existence and Genericity," Working Papers 2011-03, Department of Economics, Colgate University.
    15. Brock, William A, 1970. "An Axiomatic Basis for the Ramsey- Weizsacker Overtaking Criterion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(6), pages 927-29, November.
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