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

Listed author(s):
  • Asheim, Geir B.

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    ()

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2005/Memo-08-2005.pdf
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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 08/2005.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 21 Apr 2005
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2005_008
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. 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, vol. 54(2), pages 350-371, August.
  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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