Economics and Philosophy 2 (1):101 (1986)

Charles Karelis
George Washington University
Many philosophers and some economists value economic equality on the ground that transfers from the relatively rich to the relatively poor increase the utility of the poor more than they reduce the utility of the rich. These philosophers and economists are assuming the ethical principle that a pattern of economic distribution is justified by maximizing aggregate utility. They are also assuming the truth of an empirical generalization proposed in the eighteenth century by Daniel Bernoulli–that successive equal increments of income produce ever-diminishing increments in an individual's level of utility. In the first part of this essay I will argue against Bernoulli's hypothesis, and suggest an alternative view of the relation between income and utility
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DOI 10.1017/S026626710000081X
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