Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with Inter-Generational Equity

24 Pages Posted: 10 May 2002

See all articles by Kaushik Basu

Kaushik Basu

Cornell University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Brookings Institution

Tapan Mitra

Cornell University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 26, 2002

Abstract

It has been known that, in aggregating infinite utility streams, there does not exist any social welfare function, which satisfies the axioms of Pareto, inter-generational equity and continuity. We show that the impossibility result persists even without imposing the continuity axiom. Hence, the problem of accommodating inter-generational equity is more obstinate than previously supposed. The paper goes on to explore the scope for obtaining possibility results by weakening the Pareto axiom and placing restrictions on the domain of utilities.

Keywords: aggregating utility, social welfare function, inter-generational equity, Pareto

JEL Classification: D00, D70, D90

Suggested Citation

Basu, Kaushik and Mitra, Tapan, Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with Inter-Generational Equity (April 26, 2002). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 02-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=311277 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.311277

Kaushik Basu (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
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Tapan Mitra

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
607-255-6283 (Phone)

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