Intergenerational Justice and Sustainability Under the Leximin Ethic

38 Pages Posted: 9 May 2005

See all articles by John E. Roemer

John E. Roemer

Yale University - Department of Political Science; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

We model an intergenerational society, with a representative agent at each date, who must deplete a renewable resource, from which he derives utility, to produce consumption goods. We adopt the intergenerational lexicographic minimum as the social welfare function. Initially, technological progress is assumed to exist exogenously. We study the technological requirements for the leximin solution to support non-decreasing welfare over time, and a non-decreasing level of the natural resource. Three utility functions are studied. With a CES utility function, possessing less substitutability than the Cobb-Douglas, the leximin solution involves increasing utilities over time and an increasing size of the natural resource, if the rate of transformation of the resource into the consumption good is greater than a computed bound. Finally we study a model with endogenous technical progress.

Keywords: leximin, sustainability, technical change

JEL Classification: D63, D90

Suggested Citation

Roemer, John E., Intergenerational Justice and Sustainability Under the Leximin Ethic (May 2005). Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1512. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=721022

John E. Roemer (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5249 (Phone)
203-432-6196 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~jer39/

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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