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Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle

  • Michele Lombardi

    ()

    (University of Surrey)

  • Roberto Veneziani

    ()

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

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.

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File URL: http://www.econ.qmul.ac.uk/papers/doc/wp649.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 649.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp649
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  1. Tungodden, B., 1999. "Egalitarianism: Is Leximin the Only Option?," Papers 4/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
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  8. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
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  10. Alcantud, José Carlos R., 2011. "Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: When can we avoid interferences?," MPRA Paper 32198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Zame, William R., 2007. "Can intergenerational equity be operationalized?," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(2), June.
  12. Asheim, Geir B. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2005. "A new equity condition for infinite utility streams and the possibility of being Paretian," Memorandum 08/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  13. Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Working Papers 649, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  14. Geir B. Asheim, 2010. "Intergenerational Equity," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 197-222, 09.
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  25. Luc Lauwers, 1996. "Rawlsian equity and generalised utilitarianism with an infinite population (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 143-150.
  26. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "‘Non-interference’ implies equality," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 123-128, January.
  27. Cairns, Robert D. & Long, Ngo Van, 2006. "Maximin: a direct approach to sustainability," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 275-300, June.
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  39. repec:ecl:ucdeco:09-5 is not listed on IDEAS
  40. ASHEIM, Geir B. & d’ASPREMONT, Claude & BANERJEE, Kuntal, . "Generalized time-invariant overtaking," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2239, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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