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The Ethics of Intergenerational Risk

Paolo Giovanni Piacquadio

No 15/2015, Memorandum from Oslo University, Department of Economics

Abstract: The paper reexamines the ethics of intergenerational risk. When risk resolves gradually, earlier decisions cannot depend on the realization of later shocks and, consequently, some inequalities across generations are inevitable. To account for these inequalities, risky intergenerational situations are assessed in relation to an endogenous reference. The reference is specific to each intergenerational resource distribution problem and captures information about the technology, the intensity of risk, and the way risk resolves over time. The characterized class of reference-dependent utilitarian criteria avoids serious drawbacks of existing alternatives, such as discounted expected utilitarianism. Specifically, the welfare criteria: (i) disentangle aversion to intergenerational inequality from aversion to risk; (ii) value an early resolution of risk; and (iii) discount the future based on the intensity and the time-resolution of risk.

Keywords: Intergenerational justice; risk; social ordering; discounting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 D81 H43 Q54 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 41 pages
Date: 2015-08-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-rmg
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7)

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Related works:
Journal Article: The ethics of intergenerational risk (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: The Ethics of Intergenerational Risk (2017) Downloads
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