Ordering Infinite Utility Streams

Département de Sciences Economiques and CIREQ, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal QC, Canada H3C 3J7
Journal of Economic Theory (Impact Factor: 1.24). 02/2007; 135(1):579-589. DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2006.03.005
Source: RePEc


We reconsider the problem of ordering infinite utility streams. As has been established in earlier contributions, if no representability condition is imposed, there exist strongly Paretian and finitely anonymous orderings of intertemporal utility streams. We examine the possibility of adding suitably formulated versions of classical equity conditions. First, we provide a characterization of all ordering extensions of the generalized Lorenz criterion as the only strongly Paretian and finitely anonymous rankings satisfying the strict transfer principle. Second, we offer a characterization of an infinite-horizon extension of leximin obtained by adding an equity-preference axiom to strong Pareto and finite anonymity.

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Available from: Walter Bossert, Aug 04, 2015
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    • "More generally, the analysis of distributive justice among an in…nite number of generations is problematic for all of the main approaches, and impossibility results often emerge (Lauwers, 1997; Basu and Mitra, 2003; Fleurbaey and Michel, 2003; Zame, 2007; Hara et al., 2008; Crespo et al., 2009). Several recent contributions have provided characterisation results by dropping either completeness (Basu and Mitra, 2007; Asheim and Tungodden, 2004; Asheim et al., 2007; Bossert et al., 2007) or transitivity (Sakai, 2010). 6 But 5 Maximin preferences are prominent also outside of normative economics -for example, in decision theory and experimental economics. "
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    ABSTRACT: We analyse the implications of classical liberal and libertarian approaches for distributive justice in the context of social welfare orderings. We study an axiom capturing a liberal non-interfering view of society, Weak Harm Principle, whose roots can be traced back to John Stuart Mill. We show that liberal views of individual autonomy and freedom can provide consistent foundations for welfare judgements. In particular, a liberal non-interfering approach can help to adjudicate relation is established between liberal views of individual autonomy and non-interference, and egalitarian principles in the Rawlsian tradition.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The Economic Journal
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    • "Theorems 1 and 2 in Bossert et al. (2007) prove that both PDT and SEP are compatible with orderings on R N that verify SP and AN. Nevertheless, the literature on egalitarianism in the evaluation of infinite streams of utilities has provided evidences that the Pigou–Dalton transfer principle, as well as the Lorenz domination principle, conflict with weak forms of continuity and rationality even in the absence of Paretian restrictions (Sakai 2006; Hara et al. 2008, Theorems 1, 2). "
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    ABSTRACT: We are concerned with the problem of aggregating infinite utility streams and the possible adoption of consequentialist equity principles when using numerical evaluations of the streams. We find a virtually universal incompatibility between the Basu-Mitra approach (that advocates for social welfare functions and renounces continuity assumptions) and postulates that capture various forms of strict preference for a reduction in inequality like the Strong Equity Principle, the Pigou-Dalton Transfer principle, or Altruistic Equity.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013
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    • "In all the axioms above, when W(y) > W(x) is requested in place of W(y) W(x) we refer to HE + , HEF + , RNS + , ... Property HE + is used by d'Aspremont and Gevers (1977) under the term extremist equity. HE(a) + is called strict equity preference in Bossert et al. (2007) "
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    ABSTRACT: Two factors influence the resolution of the conflict among infinite generations: the consistency/ethical postulates requested; and the utilities that each generation can possess. We contribute to qualifying the Basu-Mitra approach to this problem, that concerns social welfare functions. Firstly we examine efficiency and strengthened forms of Hammond Equity for the Future both when the feasible utilities are [0,1] and natural numbers. This complements Banerjee (Economics Letters, 2006) and Alcantud and Garcia- Sanz (Economics Letters, 2010). Secondly, we analyze the possibility of combining Pareto-efficiency and the spirit of the Hammond Equity principle for both specfications of the feasible utilities. Here the case study is richer since we analyze four different versions of this principle. We conclude that the Anonymity, Hammond Equity for the Future, and Hammond Equity ethics can be combined with weak specifications of the Pareto postulate at a time even through explicit social welfare functions.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Metroeconomica
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