The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Justice (New Perspectives)

  • Bertil Tungodden
Reference work entry


This article provides a survey of recent normative work on justice. It shows how the concern for distributive equality has been questioned by the idea of personal responsibility and the idea that there is nothing intrinsically valuable in levelling down individual benefits. It also discusses the possibility of combining a concern for the worse off with a concern for Pareto efficiency, within both aggregative and nonaggregative frameworks, which includes a discussion of the arguments of prioritarianism, sufficientarianism, and welfarism. Finally, the article briefly reviews the modern literatures on rights-based reasoning, intergenerational justice and international justice.


Altruism Behavioural economics Choice Compensation Consequentialism Difference principle Egalitarianism Equality Equalization Evolutionary economics Fair allocation Fairness Harsanyi, J. C. Independence of irrelevant alternatives Indexing impasse Infinite horizons Intergenerational justice International justice Interpersonal utility comparisons Justice Leximin Libertarianism Maximin Nozick, R. Pareto efficiency Pareto indifference Pareto principle Poverty Poverty alleviation Preferences Primary goods Prioritarianism Rawls, J. Responsibility Self-ownership Sen, A. Social welfare function Sufficiency Sufficientarianism Tyranny of aggregation Utilitarianism Veil of ignorance Welfarism Well-being 

JEL Classifications

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Anderson, E. 1999. What is the point of equality? Ethics 109: 287–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arneson, R. 1989. Equality and equal opportunity for welfare. Philosophical Studies 56: 159–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arneson, R. 1990. Primary goods reconsidered. Noûs 24: 429–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arrow, K.J. 1951. Social choice and individual values, 2nd ed. New York: Wiley. 1963.Google Scholar
  5. Asheim, G.B., and B. Tungodden. 2004. Resolving distributional conflicts between generations. Economic Theory 24: 221–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Asheim, G.B., W. Bucholz, and B. Tungodden. 2001. Justifying sustainability. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 2: 252–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barry, B. 1989. Theories of justice. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Basu, K., and T. Mitra. 2003. Aggregating infinite utility streams with intergenerational equity: The impossibility of being Paretian. Econometrica 32: 1557–1563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Basu, K., and T. Mitra. 2007. Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization. Journal of Economic Theory 133: 350–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Binmore, K. 2005. Natural justice. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blackorby, C., W. Bossert, and D. Donaldson. 1997. Critical-level utilitarianism and the population–ethics dilemma. Economics and Philosophy 13: 197–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blackorby, C., W. Bossert, and D. Donaldson. 2005. Population issues in social choice theory, welfare economics and ethics. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Blair, D.H. 1988. The primary-goods indexation problem in Rawls’s theory of justice. Theory and Decision 24: 239–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bossert, W. 1995. Redistribution mechanisms based on individual characteristics. Mathematical Social Sciences 29: 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bossert, W., and M. Fleurbaey. 1996. Redistribution and compensation. Social Choice and Welfare 13: 343–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bossert, W., and J.A. Weymark. 2002. Utility in social choice. In Handbook of utility theory, ed. S. Barbera, P. Hammond, and C. Seidl. London: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  17. Bossert, W., Y. Sprumont, and K. Suzumura. 2007. Ordering infinite utility streams. Journal of Economic Theory 135: 579–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Broome, J. 1991. Weighing goods. Equality, uncertainty, and time. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Broome, J. 2007. Equality versus priority: A useful distinction. In Fairness and goodness in health, ed. C. Murray and D. Wikler. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  20. Brun, B.C., and B. Tungodden. 2004. Non-welfarist theories of justice: Is ‘the intersection approach’ a solution to the indexing impasse? Social Choice and Welfare 22: 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Camerer, C.F. 2003. Behavioral game theory: Experiments in strategic interaction. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Cappelen, A., and B. Tungodden. 2006. Relocating the responsibility cut: Should more responsibility imply less redistribution. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 5: 353–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cohen, G.A. 1989. On the currency of egalitarian justice. Ethics 99: 906–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Crisp, R. 2003. Equality, priority, and compassion. Ethics 113: 745–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. d’Aspremont, C. 1985. Axioms for social welfare orderings. In Social goals and social organization: Essays in memory of Elisha Pazner, ed. L. Hurwicz, D. Schmeidler, and H. Sonnenschein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. d’Aspremont, C., and L. Gevers. 1977. Equity and the informational basis of collective choice. Review of Economic Studies 44: 199–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dennet, D. 2003. Freedom evolves. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  28. Diamond, P. 1965. The evaluation of infinite utility streams. Econometrica 33: 170–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dworkin, R. 1981. What is equality? Parts. I and II. Philosophy and Public Affairs 10: 283–345.Google Scholar
  30. Dworkin, R. 2002. Sovereign virtue revisited. Ethics 113: 106–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fleurbaey, M. 1995a. Equal opportunity or equal social outcome. Economics and Philosophy 11: 25–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fleurbaey, M. 1995b. The requisites of equal opportunity. In Social choice welfare, and ethics, ed. W.A. Barnett et al. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Fleurbaey, M. 1995c. Three solutions for the compensation problem. Journal of Economic Theory 65: 505–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Fleurbaey, M. 2002. Equality of resources revisited. Ethics 113: 82–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Fleurbaey, M. 2003. On the informational basis of social choice. Social Choice and Welfare 21: 347–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Fleurbaey, M. 2007. Equality versus priority: How relevant is the distinction? In Fairness and goodness in health, ed. C. Murray and D. Wikler. Geneva: World Health Organization (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  37. Fleurbaey, M., and F. Maniquet. 1996. Fair allocation avec unequal production skills: The no-envy approach to compensation. Mathematical Social Sciences 32: 71–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Fleurbaey, M., and F. Maniquet. 1999. Fair allocation with unequal production skills: The solidarity approach to compensation. Social Choice and Welfare 16: 569–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Fleurbaey, M., and F. Maniquet. 2006. Fair income tax. Review of Economic Studies 73: 55–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Fleurbaey, M., and F. Maniquet. 2008. Compensation and responsibility. In Handbook of social choice and welfare, ed. K.J. Arrow, A.K. Sen, and K. Suzumura, vol. 2. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  41. Fleurbaey, M., and P. Michel. 2003. Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion. Journal of Mathematical Economics 39: 777–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Fleurbaey, M., and A. Trannoy. 2000. The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian. Social Choice and Welfare 21: 243–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Fleurbaey, M., K. Suzumura, and K. Tadenuma. 2005. Arrovian aggregation in economic environments: How much should we know about indifference surfaces? Journal of Economic Theory 124: 22–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Fleurbaey, M., B. Tungodden, and H.F. Chang. 2003. Any non-welfarist method of policy assessment violates the Pareto principle: A comment. Journal of Political Economy 111: 1382–1385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Frankfurt, H. 1987. Equality as a moral ideal. Ethics 98: 21–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Gaertner, W., P.K. Pattanaik, and K. Suzumura. 1992. Individual rights revisited. Economica 59: 161–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Gibbard, A. 1974. A Pareto-consistent libertarian claim. Journal of Economic Theory 7: 388–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Gibbard, A. 1979. Disparate goods and Rawls’ difference principle: A social choice theoretic treatment. Theory and Decision 11: 267–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Hammond, P. 1975. A note on extreme inequality aversion. Journal of Economic Theory 11: 119–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Harsanyi, J.C. 1955. Cardinal welfare, individualistic ethics, and interpersonal comparisons of utility. Journal of Political Economy 63: 309–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kaplow, L., and S. Shavell. 2001. Any non-welfarist method of policy assessment violates the Pareto principle. Journal of Political Economy 109: 281–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kaplow, L., and S. Shavell. 2002. Fairness versus welfare. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Kolm, S.-C. 1996. Modern theories of justice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  54. Konow, J. 2003. Which is the fairest one of all? A positive analysis of justice theories. Journal of Economic Literature 41: 1188–1239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. McKerlie, D. 1994. Equality and priority. Utilitas 6: 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mongin, P. 2001. The impartial observer theorem of social ethics. Economics and Philosophy 17: 147–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mongin, P., and C. d’Aspremont. 2002. Utility theory and ethics. In Handbook of utility theory, ed. S. Barberà, P. Hammond, and C. Seidl, vol. 1. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  58. Moulin, H., and J. Roemer. 1989. Public ownership of the external world and private ownership of self. Journal of Political Economy 97: 347–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nagel, T. 1979. Mortal questions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Nagel, T. 2002. Concealment and exposure & other essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Nozick, R. 1974. Anarchy, state and utopia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  62. Ooghe, E., Schokkaert, E. and Van de gaer, D. 2006. Equality of opportunity versus equality of opportunity sets. Social Choice and Welfare.Google Scholar
  63. Otsuka, M. 2003. Libertarianism without inquality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Parfit, D. 1984. Reasons and persons. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  65. Parfit, D. 1995. Equality or priority. Lindley lecture, University of Kansas. Reprinted in The ideal of equality, ed. M. Clayton and A. Williams. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.Google Scholar
  66. Pattanaik, P.K., and Y. Xu. 2007. Minimal relativism, dominance, and standard of living comparisons based on functionings. Oxford Economic Papers 59: 354–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Plott, C.R. 1978. Rawls’s theory of justice: an impossibility result. In Decision theory and social ethics: Issues in social choice, ed. H. Gottinger and W. Leinfellner. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.Google Scholar
  68. Pogge, T. 1989. Realizing rawls. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Pogge, T. 1992. Cosmopolianism and sovereignty. Ethics 103: 48–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Pogge, T. 1994. An egalitarian law of peoples. Philosophy and Public Affairs 23: 195–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Pogge, T., eds. 2001. Global justice. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  72. Rawls, J. 1971. A theory of justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Rawls, J. 1993. Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Rawls, J. 1999. The law of peoples. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Roemer, J. 1985. Equality of talent. Economics and Philosophy 1: 151–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Roemer, J. 1993. A pragmatic theory of responsibility for the egalitarian planner. Philosophy and Public Affairs 22: 146–166.Google Scholar
  77. Roemer, J. 1996. Theories of distributive justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Roemer, J. 1998. Equality of opportunity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Roemer, J. 2002a. Egalitarianism against the veil of ignorance. Journal of Philosophy 99: 167–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Roemer, J. 2002b. Equality of opportunity: A progress report. Social Choice and Welfare 19: 455–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Scanlon, T. 1982. Contractualism and utilitarianism. In Utilitarianism and beyond, ed. A. Sen and B. Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Scanlon, T. 1998. What we owe each other. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Scanlon, T. 2000. The diversity of objections to inequality. In The ideal of equality, ed. M. Clayton and A. Williams. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  84. Scheffler, S. 1988. Consequentialism and its critics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Sen, A. 1970a. Collective choice and social welfare. San Francisco: Holden Day.Google Scholar
  86. Sen, A. 1970b. The impossibility of a Paretian liberal. Journal of Political Economy 78: 152–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Sen, A. 1979. Utilitarianism and welfarism. Journal of Philosophy 9: 463–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Sen, A. 1982. Rights and agency. Philosophy and Public Affairs 11: 3–39.Google Scholar
  89. Sen, A. 1985. Commodities and capabilities. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  90. Sen, A. 1992a. Inequality reexamined. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  91. Sen, A. 1992b. Minimal liberty. Economica 59: 139–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Sen, A. 1993. Positional objectivity. Philosophy and Public Affairs 22: 126–145.Google Scholar
  93. Sen, A. 1996a. Rights: Formulations and consequences. Analyse & Kritik 18: 153–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Sen, A. 1996b. Individual preferences as the basis of social choice. In Social choice re-examined, ed. K. Arrow, A. Sen, and K. Suzamura. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  95. Sen, A., and J. Foster. 1997. On economic inequality. Expanded ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  96. Skyrms, B. 1996. Evolution of the social contract. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Skyrms, B. 2003. The stage hunt and the evolution of social structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Steiner, H. 1994. An essay on rights. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  99. Taurek, J. 1977. Should the numbers count? Philosophy and Public Affairs 6: 293–316.Google Scholar
  100. Temkin, L. 1993. Inequality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  101. Temkin, L. 2000. Equality, priority, and the levelling down objection. In The ideal of equality, ed. M. Clayton and A. Williams. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  102. Tungodden, B. 1999. The distribution problem and Rawlsian reasoning. Social Choice and Welfare 16: 599–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Tungodden. 2003. The value of equality. Economics and Philosophy 19: 1–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Tungodden, B. 2005. Responsibility and redistribution: The case of first best. Social Choice and Welfare 24: 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Tungodden, B., and P. Vallentyne. 2005. On the possibility of Paretian egalitarianism. Journal of Philosophy 102: 126–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Vallentyne, P., and H. Steiner, eds. 2000. Left Libertarianism and its critics: The contemporary debate. New York: Palgrave Publishers.Google Scholar
  107. Van de gaer, D. 1993. Equality of opportunity and investment in human capital. Ph.D thesis, K.U. Leuven.Google Scholar
  108. Van Hees, M., and K. Dowding. 2003. The construction of rights. American Political Science Review 97: 281–293.Google Scholar
  109. Van Parijs, P. 1995. Real freedom for all. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  110. Weymark, J.A. 1991. A reconsideration of the Harsanyi–Sen debate on utilitarianism. In Interpersonal comparisons of well-being, ed. J. Elster and J.E. Roemer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bertil Tungodden
    • 1
  1. 1.