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Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle

  • Michele Lombardi
  • Roberto Veneziani

This paper analyses Rawls's celebrated difference principle, and its lexicographic extension, in societies with a finite and an infinite number of agents. A unified framework of analysis is set up, which allows one to characterise Rawlsian egalitarian principles by means of a weaker version of a new axiom - the Harm Principle - recently proposed by [13]. This is quite surprising, because the Harm principle is meant to capture a liberal requirement of noninterference and it incorporates no obvious egalitarian content. A set of new characterisations of the maximin and of its lexicographic refinement are derived, including in the intergenerational context with an infinite number of agents.

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File URL: http://gcoe.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/research/discussion/2008/pdf/gd09-078.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number gd09-078.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hst:ghsdps:gd09-078
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  1. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2012. "Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2012-09, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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  9. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
  10. Lombardi, Michele & Miyagishima, Kaname & Veneziani, Roberto, 2013. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," MPRA Paper 48458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Geir B, ASHEIM & Claude, D’ASPREMONT & Kuntal, BANERJEE, 2008. "Generalized time-invariant overtaking," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008044, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
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  39. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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