Intertemporal Social Evaluation
Intertemporal social-evaluation rules provide us with social criteria that can be used to assess the relative desirability of utility distributions across generations. The trade-offs between the well-being of different generations implicit in each such rule reflect the underlying ethical position on issues of intergenerational equity or justice. We employ an axiomatic approach in order to identify ethically attractive social evaluation procedures. In particular, we explore the possibilities of using welfare information and non-welfare information in a model of intertemporal social evaluation. We focus on the individuals’ birth dates and lengths of life as the relevant non-welfare information. As usual, welfare information is given by lifetime utilities. It is assumed that this information is available for each alternative to be ranked. Various weakenings of the Pareto principle are employed in order to allow birth dates or lengths of life (or both) to matter in social evaluation. In addition, we impose standard properties such as continuity and anonymity and we examine the consequences of an intertemporal independence property. For each of the Pareto conditions employed, we characterize all social-evaluation rules satisfying it and our other axioms. The resulting rules are birth-date dependent or lifetime-dependent versions of generalized utilitarianism. Furthermore, we discuss the ethical and axiomatic foundations of geometric discounting in the context of our model.
|Date of creation:||2005|
|Date of revision:|
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- Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 421-439.
- Kelsey, David, 1987. "The Role of Information in Social Welfare Judgements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 301-17, June.
- 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.
- Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson, 2005.
"Multi_profile welfarism: a generalization,"
Social Choice and Welfare,
Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 25(1), pages 227-228, October.
- Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2004. "Multi-Profile Welfarism : A Generalisation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 710, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- W. M. Gorman, 1968. "The Structure of Utility Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(4), pages 367-390.
- BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006.
Cahiers de recherche
14-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
- Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-20, November.
- Broome, John, 2004.
Oxford University Press, number 9780199243761, December.
- Eric Maskin, 1978. "A Theorem on Utilitarianism," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 93-96.
- Blackorby, C. & Bossert, W. & Donalson, D., 1995.
"Birth-Date Dependent Population Ethics: Critical-Level Principles,"
95a24, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
- 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.
- Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2000. "The Value of Limited Altruism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 37-70, November.
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