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The ethics of intergenerational risk

Paolo Giovanni Piacquadio

Journal of Economic Theory, 2020, vol. 186, issue C

Abstract: This paper addresses the evaluation of intergenerational allocations in an uncertain world. It axiomatically characterizes a class of criteria, named reference-dependent utilitarian, that assess allocations relative to a stochastic reference. The characterized criteria combine social concerns for ex-ante equity—capturing the idea that generations should be treated equitably before risk is resolved—and for ex-post fairness—capturing the idea that generations should be treated equitably after risk is resolved. Social discounting is endogenous and is governed by two opposite forces: extinction risk pushes society to reduce the weight on future generations, while (uninsurable) technological risk pushes society to increase the weight on future generations.

Keywords: Intergenerational justice; Gradual resolution of risk; Welfare criteria; Discounting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 D81 H43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Related works:
Working Paper: The Ethics of Intergenerational Risk (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The Ethics of Intergenerational Risk (2015) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:186:y:2020:i:c:s0022053120300077

DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2020.104999

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