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Sustainable Heterogeneity as the Unique Socially Optimal Allocation for Almost All Social Welfare Functions

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  • Harashima, Taiji

Abstract

The socially optimal allocation has been regarded to be unspecifiable because of utility’s interpersonal incomparability, Arrow’s general possibility theorem, and other factors. This paper examines this problem by focusing not on the social welfare function but instead on the utility possibility frontier in dynamic models with a heterogeneous population. A unique balanced growth path was found on which all of the optimality conditions of all heterogeneous households are equally and indefinitely satisfied (sustainable heterogeneity). With appropriate government interventions, such a path is always achievable and is uniquely socially optimal for almost all generally usable (i.e., preferences are complete, transitive, and continuous) social welfare functions. The only exceptions are some variants in Nietzsche type social welfare functions, but those types of welfare functions will rarely be adopted in democratic societies. This result indicates that it is no longer necessary to specify the shape of the social welfare function to determine the socially optimal growth path in a heterogeneous population.

Suggested Citation

  • Harashima, Taiji, 2012. "Sustainable Heterogeneity as the Unique Socially Optimal Allocation for Almost All Social Welfare Functions," MPRA Paper 40938, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40938
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/40938/1/MPRA_paper_40938.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Taiji Harashima, 2005. "Endogenous Growth Models in Open Economies: A Possibility of Permanent Current Account Deficits," International Trade 0502001, EconWPA, revised 20 Apr 2005.
    2. Ghiglino, Christian, 2002. "Introduction to a General Equilibrium Approach to Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 1-17, July.
    3. Prescott, Edward C, 1998. "Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 525-551, August.
    4. Farmer, Roger E.A. & Lahiri, Amartya, 2005. "Recursive preferences and balanced growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 61-77, November.
    5. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "Discount rate heterogeneity and social security reform," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 117-146, October.
    6. Harashima, Taiji, 2010. "Sustainable Heterogeneity: Inequality, Growth, and Social Welfare in a Heterogeneous Population," MPRA Paper 22521, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Harashima, Taiji, 2009. "Trade Liberalization and Heterogeneous Rates of Time Preference across Countries: A Possibility of Trade Deficits with China," MPRA Paper 19386, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Taiji Harashima, 2004. "A New Asymptotically Non-Scale Endogenous Growth Model," Development and Comp Systems 0412009, EconWPA, revised 01 Mar 2005.
    9. Robert A. Becker, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-382.
    10. Harashima, Taiji, 2009. "A Theory of Total Factor Productivity and the Convergence Hypothesis: Workers’ Innovations as an Essential Element," MPRA Paper 15508, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Harashima, Taiji, 2018. "Bubbles and Bluffs: Risk Lovers Can Survive Economically," MPRA Paper 83615, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Harashima, Taiji, 2014. "Time Preference Shocks," MPRA Paper 60205, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Harashima, Taiji, 2016. "The Cause of the Great Recession: What Caused the Downward Shift of the GDP Trend in the United States?," MPRA Paper 69215, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Harashima, Taiji, 2014. "The Representative Household Assumption Requires sustainable Heterogeneity in Dynamic Models," MPRA Paper 57520, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Harashima, Taiji, 2013. "Sustainable Heterogeneity in Exogenous Growth Models: The Socially Optimal Distribution by Government’s Intervention," MPRA Paper 51653, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sustainability; Heterogeneity; Social Optimality; Social welfare; Social welfare function; Inequality; Evolution;

    JEL classification:

    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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