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The liberal egalitarian paradox

Author

Listed:
  • Cappelen, Alexander W.

    () (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    () (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cappelen, Alexander W. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2004. "The liberal egalitarian paradox," Memorandum 14/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2004_014
    as

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    File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2004/Memo-14-2003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    4. John E. Roemer, 2002. "Equality of opportunity: A progress report," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(2), pages 455-471.
    5. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equal Opportunity or Equal Social Outcome?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 25-55, April.
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    7. Marc Fleurbaey & Francois Maniquet, 1999. "Cooperative production with unequal skills: The solidarity approach to compensation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 16(4), pages 569-583.
    8. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    liberal; egalitarian;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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