Fairness and risk attitudes

Philosophical Studies 180 (10-11):3179-3204 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


According to a common judgement, a social planner should often use a lottery to decide which of two people should receive a good. This judgement undermines one of the best-known arguments for utilitarianism, due to John C. Harsanyi, and more generally undermines axiomatic arguments for utilitarianism and similar views. In this paper we ask which combinations of views about (a) the social planner’s attitude to risk and inequality, and (b) the subjects’ attitudes to risk are consistent with the aforementioned judgement. We find that the class of combinations of views that can plausibly accommodate this judgement is quite limited. But one theory does better than others: the theory of chance-sensitive utility.

Author Profiles

H. Orri Stefansson
Stockholm University
Richard Bradley
London School of Economics


Added to PP

174 (#60,985)

6 months
174 (#8,096)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?