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Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle

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  • Michele Lombardi

    (University of Surrey)

  • Roberto Veneziani

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

Abstract

This paper analyses Rawls's celebrated difference principle, and its lexicographic extension, in societies with a finite and an infinite number of agents. A unified framework of analysis is set up, which allows one to characterise Rawlsian egalitarian principles by means of a weaker version of a new axiom - the Harm Principle - recently proposed by [12]. This is quite surprising, because the Harm principle is meant to capture a liberal requirement of noninterference and it incorporates no obvious egalitarian content. A set of new characterisations of the maximin and of its lexicographic refinement are derived, including in the intergenerational context with an infinite number of agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Working Papers 649, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp649
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    Cited by:

    1. José Alcantud, 2013. "Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: when can we avoid interference?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(2), pages 381-396, July.
    2. Michele Lombardi & Kaname Miyagishima & Roberto Veneziani, 2016. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(597), pages 2173-2196, November.
    3. José Carlos R. Alcantud & María D. García-Sanz, 2013. "Evaluations of Infinite Utility Streams: Pareto Efficient and Egalitarian Axiomatics," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 432-447, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2018. "Opportunities as Chances: Maximising the Probability that Everybody Succeeds," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(611), pages 1609-1633, June.
    6. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2014. "The Liberal Ethics of Non-Interference and the Pareto Principle," SIRE Discussion Papers 2014-016, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    7. Philippe Mongin & Marcus Pivato, 2021. "Rawls’s difference principle and maximin rule of allocation: a new analysis," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 71(4), pages 1499-1525, June.
    8. 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.
    9. Shaun Hargreaves Heap & Mehmet S. Ismail, 2021. "Liberalism, rationality, and Pareto optimality," Papers 2101.10723, arXiv.org.
    10. Moti Michaeli, 0. "On Measuring Welfare ‘Behind a Veil of Ignorance’," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 0, pages 1-10.
    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. Giorgos Galanis & Roberto Veneziani, 2017. "Equality of When?," Working Papers 812, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    13. Kaname Miyagishima, 2015. "A Characterization Of The Rawlsian Social Ordering Over Infinite Utility Streams," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 303-308, July.
    14. Heap, Shaun Hargreaves & Ismail, Mehmet, 2021. "Liberalism, rationality, and Pareto optimality," SocArXiv mgqh7, Center for Open Science.
    15. Moti Michaeli, 2021. "On Measuring Welfare ‘Behind a Veil of Ignorance’," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 56(1), pages 57-66, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Difference principle; Leximin; Weak harm principle; Infinite utility streams;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development

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