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A new equity condition for infinite utility streams and the possibility of being Paretian

Author

Listed:
  • Asheim, Geir B.

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

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    () (Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

We investigate the properties of a new equity condition, "Hammond Equity for the Future" (HEF), capturing the following ethical intuition: A sacrifice by the present generation leading to a uniform gain for all future generations cannot lead to a less desirable utility stream if the present remains better off than the future. Since HEF is a weak condition when compared to other consequentialist equity conditions, it is of interest to establish whether it to a greater extent can be combined with Paretian conditions. We show that this is not the case: HEF is not compatible with the "Strong Pareto" condition when social preferences are upper semi-continuous in the sup norm topology. If we impose that the social preferences are complete, transitive and continuous in the sup norm topology, and satisfy an "Independent future" condition, then HEF cannot even be combined with the "Weak Pareto" condition.

Suggested Citation

  • Asheim, Geir B. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2005. "A new equity condition for infinite utility streams and the possibility of being Paretian," Memorandum 08/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2005_008
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    File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2005/Memo-08-2005.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Toyotaka Sakai, 2003. "Intergenerational preferences and sensitivity to the present," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(26), pages 1-5.
    2. 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.
    3. Suzumura, Kotaro & Shinotsuka, Tomoichi, 2003. "On the Possibility of Continuous, Paretian and Egalitarian Evaluation of Infinite Utility Streams," Discussion Paper 189, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A, 1984. "Social Choice with Interpersonal Utility Comparisons: A Diagrammatic Introduction," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(2), pages 327-356, June.
    5. Birchenhall, C. R. & Grout, P., 1979. "On equal plans with an infinite horizon," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 249-264, October.
    6. Asheim, Geir B., 1991. "Unjust intergenerational allocations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 350-371.
    7. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
    8. Fleurbaey, Marc & Michel, Philippe, 2001. "Transfer principles and inequality aversion, with an application to optimal growth," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-11, July.
    9. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-078, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Asheim, Geir B. & Mitra, Tapan, 2010. "Sustainability and discounted utilitarianism in models of economic growth," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 148-169, March.
    3. Geir Asheim & Walter Bossert & Yves Sprumont & Kotaro Suzumura, 2010. "Infinite-horizon choice functions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 43(1), pages 1-21, April.
    4. Walter Bossert & Kotaro Suzumura, 2011. "Multi-profile intergenerational social choice," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 37(3), pages 493-509, September.
    5. José Carlos R. Alcantud & María D. García-Sanz, 2013. "Evaluations of Infinite Utility Streams: Pareto Efficient and Egalitarian Axiomatics," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 432-447, July.
    6. 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.
    7. Dubey, Ram Sewak & Mitra, Tapan, 2010. "On Equitable Social Welfare Functions Satisfying the Weak Pareto Axiom: A Complete Characterimplete Characterization," Working Papers 10-02, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    8. Banerjee, Kuntal, 2006. "On the equity-efficiency trade off in aggregating infinite utility streams," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 63-67, October.
    9. Ram Sewak Dubey & Tapan Mitra, 2011. "On equitable social welfare functions satisfying the Weak Pareto Axiom: A complete characterization," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 7(3), pages 231-250, September.
    10. Asheim, Geir B. & Bossert, Walter & Sprumont, Yves & Suzumura, Kotaro, 2006. "Infinite-horizon choice functions," Memorandum 17/2006, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    11. Geir Asheim & Tapan Mitra & Bertil Tungodden, 2012. "Sustainable recursive social welfare functions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 267-292.
    12. Alcantud, José Carlos R. & García-Sanz, María D., 2009. "A comment on "Intergenerational equity: sup, inf, lim sup, and lim inf"," MPRA Paper 14763, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. repec:wly:econjl:v:126:y:2016:i:597:p:2173-2196 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Sakamoto, Norihito, 2011. "Impossibilities of Paretian Social Welfare Functions for Infinite Utility Streams with Distributive Equity," Discussion Papers 2011-09, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergenerational equity; Pareto condition;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development

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