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Is the Veil of Ignorance Transparent?

Gaël Giraud () and Cécile Renouard ()
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Cécile Renouard: ESSEC Business School, Postal: Avenue Bernard Hirsch - B.P. 50105 , 95021 CERGY-PONTOISE, FRANCE,

No DR 09016, ESSEC Working Papers from ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School

Abstract: Theories of justice in the spirit of Rawls and Harsanyi argue that fair-minded people should aspire to make choices for society as if in the original position, that is, behind a veil of ignorance that prevents them from knowing their own social positions in society. In this paper, we provide a framework showing that preferences in front of the veil of ignorance (i.e., in face of every day risky situations) are entirely determined by ethical preferences behind the veil. Moreover, by contrast with Kariv & Zame (2008), in many cases of interest, the converse is not true: ethical decisions cannot be deduced from economic ones. This not only rehabilitates distributive theories of justice but even proves that standard decision theory in economic environments cannot be separated from ethical questioning.

Keywords: Business Ethics; Distributional Justice; Maximin Principle; Moral Preferences; Original Position; Social Choice; Social Preferences; Theory of Justice; Utilitarianism; Veil of Ignorance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 21 pages
Date: 2009-12
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Working Paper: Is the Veil of Ignorance Transparent ? (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Is the veil of ignorance transparent? (2010) Downloads
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