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Fair Utilitarianism

Marc Fleurbaey () and Stéphane Zuber
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Marc Fleurbaey: Woodrow Wilson School and Center for Human Values - Princeton University

Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne from Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne

Abstract: Utilitarianism plays a central role in economics, but there is a gap between theory, where it is dominant and applications, where monetary criteria are often used. For applications, a key difficulty for utilitarianism remains to define how utilities should be measured and compared across individuals. Drawing on Harsanyi's approach (Harsanyi, 1955) involving choices in risky situations, we introduce a new normalization of utilities that is the only one ensuring that: 1) a transfer from a rich to a poor is welfare enhancing, and 2) populations with more risk averse people have lower welfare. We embed these requirements in a new characterization of utilitarianism and study some implications of this "fair utilitarianism" for risk sharing, collective risk aversion and the design of health policy

Keywords: Fairness; social risk; utilitarianism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 D81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des, nep-hpe, nep-mic and nep-upt
Date: 2017-01, Revised 2017-07
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ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/CES2017/17005R.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Fair Utilitarianism (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Fair Utilitarianism (2017)
Working Paper: Fair Utilitarianism (2017) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mse:cesdoc:17005r

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