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A mixed Bentham–Rawls criterion for intergenerational equity: Theory and implications

Authors
Journal
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
0095-0696
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
58
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2009.04.003
Keywords
  • Intergenerational Equity
  • Maximin
  • Sustainable Development

Abstract

Abstract This paper proposes a welfare criterion that balances the need for development and the concern for the least advantaged generations, and explores its implications. This criterion, called the mixed Bentham–Rawls criterion, moderates the effect of discounting, yet permits some degree of intertemporal trade-off. It is a weighted average of two terms: (a) the sum of discounted utilities and (b) the utility level of the least advantaged generation. We derive necessary conditions to characterize growth paths that satisfy our criterion, and show that in some models with familiar dynamic specifications, an optimal path exists and displays appealing characteristics.

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