Sustainability and discounted utilitarianism in models of economic growth
Appears in the following Collection
- Økonomisk institutt 
Original versionMathematical Social Sciences. 2010, 59 (2), 148-169, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mathsocsci.2009.08.003
AbstractDiscounted utilitarianism treats generations unequally and leads to seemingly unappealing consequences in some models of economic growth. Instead, this paper presents and applies sustainable discounted utilitarianism (SDU). SDU respects the interests of future generations and resolves intergenerational conflicts by imposing on discounted utilitarianism that the evaluation be insensitive to the interests of the present generation if the present is better off than the future. An SDU social welfare function always exists. We provide a convenient sufficient condition to identify SDU optima and apply SDU to two well-known models of economic growth.
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Mathematical Social Sciences. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Mathematical Social Sciences