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The Axiomatic Approach to Population Ethics

Author

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  • BLACKORBY, Charles
  • BOSSERT, Walter
  • DONALDSON, David

Abstract

This paper examines several families of population principles in the light of a set of axioms. In addition to the critical-level utilitarian, number-sensitive critical-level utilitarian and number-dampened families and their generalized counterparts, we consider the restricted number-dampened family (suggested by Hurka) and introduce two new families : the restricted critical-level and restricted number-dependent critical-level families. Subsets of the restricted families have nonnegative critical levels and avoid both the repugnant and sadistic conclusions but fail to satisfy an important independence condition. We defend the critical-level principles with positive critical levels.

Suggested Citation

  • BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2001. "The Axiomatic Approach to Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 2001-06, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2001-06
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1866/347
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 421-439.
    2. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. " Population Principles with Number-Dependent Critical Levels," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 347-368.
    3. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1997. "Birth-Date Dependent Population Ethics: Critical-Level Principles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 260-284, December.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    5. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
    6. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 2006-15, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
      • BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 14-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    7. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
    8. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1992. "Pigs and Guinea Pigs: A Note on the Ethics of Animal Exploitation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1345-1369, November.
    9. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
    10. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. "Utilitarianism and the theory of justice," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 543-596 Elsevier.
    11. Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Uncertainty and critical-level population principles," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20.
    12. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2001. "Population ethics and the existence of value functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 301-308, November.
    13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2003. "Population Ethics and the Value of Life," Cahiers de recherche 05-2003, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    2. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson, 2007. "Variable-population extensions of social aggregation theorems," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 28(4), pages 567-589, June.
    3. Charles BLACKORBY & Walter BOSSERT & David DONALDSON, 2002. "Critical-Level Population Principles And The Repugnant Conclusion," Cahiers de recherche 15-2002, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    4. Leslie Shiell, 2008. "The Repugnant Conclusion and Utilitarianism under Domain Restrictions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(6), pages 1011-1031, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    lation ethics; axiomatic methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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