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Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: When can we avoid interferences?

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  • Alcantud, José Carlos R.

Abstract

In this work we analyse social welfare relations on sets of infinite utility streams that verify various types of liberal non-interference principles. Earlier contributions have established that (finitely) anonymous and strongly Paretian quasiorderings exist that agree with axioms of that kind together with weak preference continuity and further consistency. Nevertheless Mariotti and Veneziani prove that a fully liberal non-interfering view of a finite society leads to dictatorship if weak Pareto optimality is imposed. We first prove that extending the horizon to infinity produces a reversal of such impossibility result. Then we investigate a related problem: namely, the possibility of combining “standard” semicontinuity with efficiency in the presence of non-interference. We provide several impossibility results that prove that there is a generalised incompatibility between continuity and non-interference principles, both under ordinal and cardinal views of the problem. Our analysis ends with some insights on the property of representability in the presence of non-interference assumptions. In particular we prove that all social welfare functions that verify a very mild efficiency property must exert some interference (penalising both adverse and favorable changes) on the affairs of particular generations.

Suggested Citation

  • Alcantud, José Carlos R., 2011. "Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: When can we avoid interferences?," MPRA Paper 32198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Toyotaka Sakai, 2003. "Intergenerational preferences and sensitivity to the present," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(26), pages 1-5.
    2. Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Principles for Social Welfare Relations in Infinitely-Lived Societies," Working Papers 650, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    3. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2003:i:26:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-078, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Geir Asheim & Stéphane Zuber, 2013. "A complete and strongly anonymous leximin relation on infinite streams," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(4), pages 819-834, October.
    6. repec:wly:econjl:v:126:y:2016:i:597:p:2173-2196 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Equity, Arrow's Conditions, and Rawls' Difference Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 793-804, July.
    8. Chiaki Hara & Tomoichi Shinotsuka & Kotaro Suzumura & Yongsheng Xu, 2008. "Continuity and egalitarianism in the evaluation of infinite utility streams," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(2), pages 179-191, August.
    9. Geir Asheim & Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Resolving distributional conflicts between generations," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 24(1), pages 221-230, July.
    10. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2013. "On the impossibility of complete Non-Interference in Paretian social judgements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1689-1699.
    11. Toyotaka Sakai, 2003. "An axiomatic approach to intergenerational equity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 20(1), pages 167-176.
    12. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
    13. Geir Asheim & Tapan Mitra & Bertil Tungodden, 2012. "Sustainable recursive social welfare functions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(2), pages 267-292, February.
    14. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "‘Non-interference’ implies equality," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(1), pages 123-128, January.
    15. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "The Paradoxes of the Liberal Ethics of Non-interference," Working Papers 653, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    16. Bossert, Walter & Sprumont, Yves & Suzumura, Kotaro, 2007. "Ordering infinite utility streams," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 579-589, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-078, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Marco, Mariotti & Roberto, Veneziani, 2012. "Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds," MPRA Paper 41884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:wly:econjl:v:126:y:2016:i:597:p:2173-2196 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2012. "Allocating chances of success in finite and infinite societies: The utilitarian criterion," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 226-236.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pareto axiom; Intergenerational justice; Social welfare relation; Non-interference; Continuity;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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