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Lorenz non-consistent welfare and inequality measurement

Abstract

Typical welfare and inequality measures are required to be Lorenz consistent which guarantees that inequality decreases and welfare increases as a result of a progressive transfer. We explore the implications for welfare and inequality measurement of substituting the weaker absolute differentials and deprivation quasi-orderings for the Lorenz quasi-ordering. Restricting attention to distributions of equal means, we show that the utilitarian model – the so-called expected utility model in the theory of risk – does not permit one to make a distinction between the views embedded in the differentials, deprivation and Lorenz quasi-orderings. In contrast it is possible within the dual model of M. Yaari (Econometrica 55 (1987), 99–115) to derive the restrictions to be placed on the weighting function which guarantee that the corresponding welfare orderings are consistent with the differentials and deprivation quasi-orderings respectively. Finally we drop the equal mean condition and indicate the implications of our approach for the absolute ethical inequality indices.

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Correspondence to Patrick Moyes.

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Chateauneuf, A., Moyes, P. Lorenz non-consistent welfare and inequality measurement. J Econ Inequal 2, 61–87 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10888-004-4383-7

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Keywords

  • deprivation
  • dual model of choice under risk
  • expected utility
  • generalized Gini social welfare functions
  • income differentials
  • Lorenz dominance