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Sustainable preferences via nondiscounted, hyperreal intergenerational welfare functions

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  • Pivato, Marcus

Abstract

We define an intergenerational social welfare function Sigma from |R^|N (the set of all infinite-horizon utility streams) into *|R (the ordered field of hyperreal numbers). The function Sigma is continuous, linear, and increasing, and is well-defined even on unbounded (e.g. exponentially increasing) utility streams. This yields a complete social welfare ordering on |R^|N which is Pareto and treats all generations equally (i.e. does not discount future utility). In particular, it is what Chichilnisky (1996) calls a `sustainable' preference ordering: it is neither a `dictatorship of the present' nor a `dictatorship of the future'. We then show how an agent with no `pure' time preferences may still `informationally discount' the future, due to uncertainty. Last, we model intergenerational choice for an exponentially growing economy and population. In one parameter regime, our model shows `instrumental discounting' due to declining marginal utility of wealth. In another regime, we see a disturbing `Paradox of Eternal Deferral'.

Suggested Citation

  • Pivato, Marcus, 2008. "Sustainable preferences via nondiscounted, hyperreal intergenerational welfare functions," MPRA Paper 7461, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7461
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/7461/1/MPRA_paper_7461.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lauwers, Luc, 2000. "Topological social choice," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-39, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational choice; intertemporal choice; infinite-horizon; nondiscounted; sustainable; hyperreal; nonstandard real numbers; nonstandard analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development

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