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Sustainable recursive social welfare functions

  • Asheim, Geir B.


    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Mitra, Tapan


    (Department of Economics, Cornell University)

  • Tungodden, Bertil


    (Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration and Chr. Michelsen Institute,)

Koopmans’s (Econometrica 28, 287–309) axiomatization of discounted utilitarianism is based on seemingly compelling conditions, yet this criterion leads to hard-to-justify outcomes. The present analysis considers a class of sustainable recursive social welfare functions within Koopmans’s general framework. This class is axiomatized by means of a weak new equity condition (“Hammond Equity for the Future”) and general existence is established. Any member of the class satisfies the key axioms of Chichilnisky’s (Social Choice and Welfare 13, 231–257) “sustainable preferences”. The analysis singles out one of Koopmans’s original conditions as particularly questionable from an ethical perspective.

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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 18/2006.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 10 Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2006_018
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
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