Individual fairness in Harsanyi’s utilitarianism: Operationalizing all-inclusive utility

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Abstract

Fairness can be incorporated into Harsanyi’s utilitarianism through all-inclusive utility. This retains the normative assumptions of expected utility and Pareto-efficiency, and relates fairness to individual preferences. It makes utilitarianism unfalsifiable, however, if agents’ all-inclusive utilities are not explicitly specified. This note proposes a two-stage model to make utilitarian welfare analysis falsifiable by specifying all-inclusive utilities explicitly through models of individual fairness preferences. The approach is applied to include fairness in widely discussed allocation examples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
JournalTheory and Decision
Volume68
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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