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Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds

  • Marco, Mariotti
  • Roberto, Veneziani

Opportunities in society are commonly interpreted as `chances of success'. Within this interpretation, should opportunities be equalised? We show that a liberal principle of justice and a limited principle of social rationality imply that opportunity profiles should be evaluated by means of a `Nash' criterion. The interpretation is new: the social objective should be to maximise the chance that everybody in society succeeds. In particular, the failure of even only one individual must be considered maximally detrimental. We also study a refinement of this criterion and its extension to problems of intergenerational justice.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 41884.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:41884
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  1. José Alcantud, 2013. "Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: when can we avoid interference?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 381-396, July.
  2. 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.
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  4. Ok, Efe A., 1998. "Inequality averse collective choice," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 301-321, October.
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  8. Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Economics and Language," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000654, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 2000. "Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity," Papers 211, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  10. Susumu Cato, 2009. "Characterizing the Nash social welfare relation for infinite utility streams: a note," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 2372-2379.
  11. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2003. "Utilitarianism for Infinite Utility Streams: A New Welfare Criterion and Its Axiomatic Characterization," Working Papers 03-05, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  12. Hammond, Peter J, 1976. "Equity, Arrow's Conditions, and Rawls' Difference Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 793-804, July.
  13. Bosi, Gianni & Candeal, Juan Carlos & Indurain, Esteban, 2000. "Continuous representability of homothetic preferences by means of homogeneous utility functions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 291-298, April.
  14. Mariotti, Marco, 1999. "Fair Bargains: Distributive Justice and Nash Bargaining Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 733-41, July.
  15. Bossert, Walter & Sprumont, Yves & Suzumura, Kotaro, 2007. "Ordering infinite utility streams," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 579-589, July.
  16. Efe A. Ok & Laurence Kranich, 1998. "The measurement of opportunity inequality: a cardinality-based approach," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 263-287.
  17. Naumova, Natalia & Yanovskaya, Elena, 2001. "Nash social welfare orderings," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 203-231, November.
  18. Geir B. Asheim & Kuntal Banerjee, 2009. "Fixed-step anonymous overtaking and catching-up," Working Papers 09001, Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University.
  19. Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1996. "Redistribution and compensation (*)," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 343-355.
  20. 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.
  21. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521593069 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Marc Fleurbaey, 2010. "Assessing Risky Social Situations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 649-680, 08.
  23. Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995. "Equal Opportunity or Equal Social Outcome?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 25-55, April.
  24. 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.
  25. John A. Weymark & Kai-yuen Tsui, 1997. "Social welfare orderings for ratio-scale measurable utilities," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 241-256.
  26. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "‘Non-interference’ implies equality," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 123-128, January.
  27. Geir B. Asheim, 2010. "Intergenerational Equity," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 197-222, 09.
  28. 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.
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