Additively-separable and rank-discounted variable-population social welfare functions: A characterization

Economic Letters 203:1-3 (2021)
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Abstract
Economic policy evaluations require social welfare functions for variable-size populations. Two important candidates are critical-level generalized utilitarianism (CLGU) and rank-discounted critical-level generalized utilitarianism, which was recently characterized by Asheim and Zuber (2014) (AZ). AZ introduce a novel axiom, existence of egalitarian equivalence (EEE). First, we show that, under some uncontroversial criteria for a plausible social welfare relation, EEE suffices to rule out the Repugnant Conclusion of population ethics (without AZ’s other novel axioms). Second, we provide a new characterization of CLGU: AZ’s set of axioms is equivalent to CLGU when EEE is replaced by the axiom same-number independence.
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Archival date: 2021-04-11
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