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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 747:
Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: summable differences and finite averages

Adam Jonsson () and Mark Voorneveld ()

Abstract: This paper provides axiomatic descriptions of social welfare relations, defined on infinite streams of utility, that are consistent with the utilitarian criterion on subsets where maximizing aggregate utility has a clear interpretation: the streams, or their differences, are summable. Besides standard assumptions on efficiency, equity and interpersonal comparability, two axioms are introduced and shown to be necessary and sufficient. A more general version of one axiom suffices to distinguish streams with different long-run averages.

Keywords: Intergenerational equity; aggregating infinite utility streams; ethical social welfare relations; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D63; D70; D90; (follow links to similar papers)

12 pages, March 17, 2014, Revised April 15, 2014

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