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The limit of discounted utilitarianism

Listed author(s):
  • Jonsson, Adam

    ()

    (Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics)

  • Voorneveld, Mark

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

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 of efficiency, equity, and interpersonal comparability, but allows us to compare more pairs of utility streams than commonly-used utilitarian criteria, 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. 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.
  2. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
  3. Brock, William A, 1970. "An Axiomatic Basis for the Ramsey- Weizsacker Overtaking Criterion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(6), pages 927-929, November.
  4. 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).
  5. Geir B. Asheim & Claude d’Aspremont & Kuntal Banerjee, 2008. "Generalized time-invariant overtaking," Working Papers 08004, Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University.
  6. 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.
  7. Toyotaka Sakai, 2010. "Intergenerational equity and an explicit construction of welfare criteria," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(3), pages 393-414, September.
  8. Banerjee, Kuntal & Dubey, Ram, 2011. "Impatience for Weakly Paretian Orders: Existence and Genericity," Working Papers 2011-03, Department of Economics, Colgate University.
  9. Fleurbaey, Marc & Michel, Philippe, 2003. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 777-802, September.
  10. 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.
  11. Kohei Kamaga & Takashi Kojima, 2010. "On the leximin and utilitarian overtaking criteria with extended anonymity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(3), pages 377-392, September.
  12. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Asheim, Geir B. & Buchholz, Wolfgang & Tungodden, Bertil, 2001. "Justifying Sustainability," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 252-268, May.
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