The Journal of Economic Inequality

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 309–316

Ignorance, lotteries, and measures of economic inequality


DOI: 10.1007/s10888-015-9302-6

Cite this article as:
Bennett, C.J. & Zitikis, R. J Econ Inequal (2015) 13: 309. doi:10.1007/s10888-015-9302-6


Towards further enhancing the conceptual unification of the literature on risk and inequality, we demonstrate that a number of existing inequality indices arise naturally from a Harsanyi-inspired model of choice under risk, whereby individuals act as expected (reference-dependent) utility maximizers in the face of an income quantile lottery. Among other things, our reformulation gives rise to a novel reinterpretation of these classical indices as measures of the desirability of redistribution in society.


RedistributionInequalityLotteriesVeil of ignoranceTilted lotteriesLorenz curveAtkinson indexDonaldson-Weymark indexGini index

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bates White Economic ConsultingWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Statistical and Actuarial SciencesUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada