Mind & Society

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 105–116 | Cite as

Cycles of maximin and utilitarian policies under the veil of ignorance

  • Darya V. Filatova
  • Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde
  • Jean Baratgin
  • Frank Jamet
  • Jing Shao


A conceptual and mathematical model of a social community behavior in a choice situation under a veil of ignorance, where two alternative policies—Rawlsian maximin and Harsanyian utilitarianism—can be implemented through the aggregation of individual preferences over these two policies, is constructed and investigated. We first incorporate in our conceptual model psychological features such as risk-aversion and prosocial preferences that likely underlie choices of welfare policies. We secondly develop and select the mathematical model presented it by means of an autonomous system of ordinary differential equations. A qualitative analysis of this system global phase-plane behavior shows possible tendencies of community development under social choices over Rawlsian or utilitarian societies depending on psychological parameters such as risk aversion and prosocial preferences.


Dynamic system Maximin Ordinary differential equation Prosocial preferences Risk-aversion Utilitarianism Veil of ignorance 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for their very useful and relevant comments. Financial support for this work was provided by a grant from the ANR Chorus 2011 (Project BTAFDOC), a Grant from NCN 613516 Poland, and the ANR-10-0RAR-O1122 (PI Bourgeois-Gironde) NESSHI: the Neural turn in European social sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darya V. Filatova
    • 1
  • Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde
    • 2
  • Jean Baratgin
    • 2
    • 3
  • Frank Jamet
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jing Shao
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Pedagogy and PsychologyUniversity of Jan KochanowskiKielcePoland
  2. 2.Lemma and Institut Jean-NicodUniversité Paris 2ParisFrance
  3. 3.CHArt (Paris) Université Paris 8 et EPHEParisFrance
  4. 4.Université de Cergy PontoiseCergy PontoiseFrance
  5. 5.Université de Haute AlsaceColmarFrance

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