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The liberal egalitarian paradox

  • Cappelen, Alexander W.

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    ()

    (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

A liberal egalitarian theory of justice seeks to combine the values of equality, personal freedom and personal responsibility. It is considered a much more promising position than strict egalitarianism, because it supposedly provides a fairness argument for inequalities reflecting differences in choice. However, we show that it is not possible to fulfil this ambition. Inequalities can only be justified on the basis of incentive considerations within a liberal egalitarian framework. Moreover, we demonstrate that there is a surprisingly thin line between strict egalitarianism and libertarianism, which implies that liberals easily may end up as libertarians if they weaken their egalitarian ambitions.

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File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2004/Memo-14-2003.pdf
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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 14/2004.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 27 Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2004_014
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
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  1. Bossert W., 1996. "Redistribution mechanisms based on individual characteristics," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 51-51, February.
  2. John E. Roemer, 2002. "Equality of opportunity: A progress report," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 455-471, April.
  3. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equality and responsibility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 683-689, April.
  4. Fleurbaey Marc, 1995. "Three Solutions for the Compensation Problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 505-521, April.
  5. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Reciprocity, Self-Interest and the Welfare State," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 26, pages 33-53.
  6. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  7. Marc Fleurbaey & Francois Maniquet, 1999. "Cooperative production with unequal skills: The solidarity approach to compensation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 569-583.
  8. Roemer, J.E., 1992. "A Pragmatic Theory of Responsibility for the Egalitarian Planner," Papers 391, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  9. Moulin, Herve & Roemer, John, 1989. "Public Ownership of the External World and Private Ownership of Self," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 347-67, April.
  10. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equal Opportunity or Equal Social Outcome?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 25-55, April.
  11. Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1996. "Redistribution and compensation (*)," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 343-355.
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