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The Possibility of Ordering Infinite Utility Streams

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  • BOSSERT, Walter
  • SPRUMONT, Yves
  • SUZUMURA, Kotaro

Abstract

This paper revisits Diamond’s classical impossibility result regarding the ordering of infinite utility streams. We show that if no representability condition is imposed, there do exist strongly Paretian and finitely anonymous orderings of intertemporal utility streams with attractive additional properties. We extend a possibility theorem due to Svensson to a characterization theorem and we provide characterizations of all strongly Paretian and finitely anonymous rankings satisfying the strict transfer principle. In addition, infinite horizon extensions of leximin and of utilitarianism are characterized by adding an equity preference axiom and finite translation-scale measurability, respectively, to strong Pareto and finite anonymity.

Suggested Citation

  • BOSSERT, Walter & SPRUMONT, Yves & SUZUMURA, Kotaro, 2004. "The Possibility of Ordering Infinite Utility Streams," Cahiers de recherche 2004-09, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2004-09
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1866/524
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, September.
    3. Claude D'Aspremont & Louis Gevers, 1977. "Equity and the Informational Basis of Collective Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(2), pages 199-209.
    4. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. 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.
    6. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2005. "Possibility Theorems for Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams Equitably," Working Papers 05-05, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    2. Claude, d’ASPREMONT, 2005. "Formal welfarism and intergenerational equity," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005051, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    3. Mabrouk, Mohamed, 2006. "Allais-anonymity as an alternative to the discounted-sum criterion in the calculus of optimal growth I: Consensual optimality," MPRA Paper 10512, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergenerational justice; multi-riod social choice; leximin; utilitarianism;
    All these keywords.

    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

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