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Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium

  • Martin Dufwenberg
  • Paul Heidhues
  • Georg Kirchsteiger
  • Frank Riedel
  • Joel Sobel

We study competitive market outcomes in economies where agents have other-regarding preferences. We identify a separability condition on monotone preferences that is necessary and sufficient for one’s own demand to be independent of the allocations and characteristics of other agents in the economy. Given separability, it is impossible to identify other-regarding preferences from market behavior: agents be- have as if they had classical preferences that depend only on own consumption in competitive equilibrium. If preferences, in addition, depend only on the final allocation of consumption in society, the Sec- ond Welfare Theorem holds as long as an increase in resources can be distributed such that all agents are better off. Nevertheless, the First Welfare Theorem generally does not hold. Allowing agents to care about their own consumption and the distribution of consump- tion possibilities in the economy, we provide a condition under which agents have no incentive to make direct transfers, and show that this condition implies that competitive equilibria are efficient given prices.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/149598.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Publication status: Published in: Review of Economic Studies (2011) v.78 n° 2,p.613-699
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/149598
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