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Utilitarianism and the Theory of Justice* by Charles Blackorby, Walter Bossert and David Donaldson

August 1999

revised August 2001

Prepared as Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare K. Arrow, A. Sen and K. Suzumura, eds., Elsevier, Amsterdam

Charles Blackorby: University of British Columbia and GREQAM Walter Bossert: Universit´ de Montr´al and C.R.D.E. e e David Donaldson: University of British Columbia

* We thank Don Brown, Marc Fleurbaey, Philippe Mongin, John Weymark and a referee for comments and suggestions. Financial support through a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is gratefully acknowledged.
August 20, 2001

This chapter provides a survey of utilitarian theories of justice. We review and discuss axiomatizations of utilitarian and generalized-utilitarian social-evaluation functionals in a welfarist framework. Section 2 introduces, along with some basic definitions, socialevaluation functionals. Furthermore, we discuss several information-invariance assumptions. In Section 3, the welfarism axioms unrestricted domain, binary independence of irrelevant alternatives and Pareto indifference are introduced and used characterize welfarist social evaluation. These axioms imply that there exists a single ordering of utility vectors that can be used to rank all alternatives for any profile of individual utility functions. We call such an ordering a social-evaluation ordering, and we introduce several examples of classes of such orderings. In addition, we formulate some further basic axioms. Section 4 provides characterizations of generalized-utilitarian social-evaluation orderings, both in a static and in an intertemporal framework. Section 5 deals with the special case of utilitarianism. We review some known axiomatizations and, in addition, prove a new characterization result that…...

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