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

  • Alcantud, José Carlos R.

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.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 32198.

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Date of creation: 12 Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32198
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  1. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Equity, Arrow's Conditions, and Rawls' Difference Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 793-804, July.
  2. Geir Asheim & Tapan Mitra & Bertil Tungodden, 2012. "Sustainable recursive social welfare functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 267-292, February.
  3. Geir B. Asheim & Stéphane Zuber, 2011. "A Complete and Strongly Anonymous Leximin Relation on Infinite Streams," CESifo Working Paper Series 3578, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Toyotaka Sakai, 2003. "Intergenerational preferences and sensitivity to the present," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(26), pages 1-5.
  5. Geir Asheim & Bertil Tungodden, 2004. "Resolving distributional conflicts between generations," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 221-230, 07.
  6. 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.
  7. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "‘Non-interference’ implies equality," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 123-128, January.
  8. 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.
  9. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2003:i:26:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Chiaki Hara & Tomoichi Shinotsuka & Kotaro Suzumura & Yongsheng Xu, 2008. "Continuity and egalitarianism in the evaluation of infinite utility streams," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 179-191, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Toyotaka Sakai, 2003. "An axiomatic approach to intergenerational equity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 167-176.
  13. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1995. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," MPRA Paper 8609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Bossert, Walter & Sprumont, Yves & Suzumura, Kotaro, 2007. "Ordering infinite utility streams," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 579-589, July.
  15. 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.
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