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On the axiomatics of resource allocation: Interpreting the consistency principle

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  • William Thomson

    (University of Rochester)

Abstract

An allocation rule is consistent if the recommendation it makes for each problem “agrees” with the recommendation it makes for each associated reduced problem, obtained by imagining some agents leaving with their assignments. Some authors have described the consistency principle as a “fairness principle”. Others have written that it is not about fairness, that it should be seen as an “operational principle”. We dispute the particular fairness interpretations that have been offered for consistency, but develop a different and important fairness foundation for the principle, arguing that it can be seen as the result of adding “some” efficiency to a “post-application” and efficiency-free expression of solidarity in response to population changes. We also challenge the interpretations of consistency as an operational principle that have been given, but identify a sense in which such an interpretation can be supported. We review and assess the other interpretations of the principle, as “robustness”, “coherence”, and “reinforcement”.

Suggested Citation

  • William Thomson, 2012. "On the axiomatics of resource allocation: Interpreting the consistency principle," RCER Working Papers 573, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  • Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:573
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    File URL: http://rcer.econ.rochester.edu/RCERPAPERS/rcer_573.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Moreno-Ternero, Juan D. & Roemer, John E., 2012. "A common ground for resource and welfare egalitarianism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 832-841.
    2. Serizawa, Shigehiro, 2002. "Inefficiency of Strategy-Proof Rules for Pure Exchange Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 219-241, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    consistency principle; fairness principle; solidarity; punctual axiom; relational axiom; consistent extensions; converse consistency;

    JEL classification:

    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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