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Harsanyi's Social Aggregation Theorem : A Multi-Profile Approach with Variable-Population Extensions

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

Abstract

This paper provides new versions of Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem that are formulated in terms of prospects rather than lotteries. Strengthening an earlier result, fixed-population ex-ante utilitarianism is characterized in a multi-profile setting with fixed probabilities. In addition, we extend the social aggregation theorem to social-evaluation problems under uncertainty with a variable population and generalize our approach to uncertain alternatives, which consist of compound vectors of probability distributions and prospects.

Suggested Citation

  • BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2003. "Harsanyi's Social Aggregation Theorem : A Multi-Profile Approach with Variable-Population Extensions," Cahiers de recherche 03-2003, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:03-2003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1999. "Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem for state-contingent alternatives1," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 365-387, November.
    2. Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 421-439.
    3. De Meyer, Bernard & Mongin, Philippe, 1995. "A note on affine aggregation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 177-183, February.
    4. Mongin, Philippe, 1998. "The paradox of the Bayesian experts and state-dependent utility theory," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 331-361, April.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    8. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1999. "Information Invariance in Variable-Population Social-Choice Problems," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 403-422, May.
    9. Mongin, P & d'Aspremont, C, 1996. "Utility Theory and Ethics," Papers 9632, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
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    12. Mongin, Ph., 1991. "Harsanyi's aggregation theorem: multi-profile version and unsettled questions," CORE Discussion Papers 1991036, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    13. Mongin Philippe, 1995. "Consistent Bayesian Aggregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 313-351, August.
    14. John Broome, 1990. "Bolker-Jeffrey Expected Utility Theory and Axiomatic Utilitarianism," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 477-502.
    15. 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.
    16. Hammond, Peter J, 1981. "Ex-ante and Ex-post Welfare Optimality under Uncertainty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(191), pages 235-250, August.
    17. 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.
    18. Maurice Salles, 2005. "Social Choice," Post-Print halshs-00337075, HAL.
    19. Marc Fleurbaey & Maurice Salles & John Weymark, 2008. "Justice, Political Liberalism and Utilitarianism," Post-Print hal-00246415, HAL.
    20. 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. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem; multi-profile social choice; population ethics;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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