Naar De Meetbaarheid Van Een Rechtvaardige Verdeling

Research paper by J. Tinbergen

Indexed on: 01 Mar '73Published on: 01 Mar '73Published in: De Economist


The author proposes a method to arrive at a cardinal theory of utility or welfare (considered identical) by the introduction into the utility function of (1) variables, (2) parameters and (3) coefficients. Parameters characterize measured differences between individuals relevant to the problem considered; variables indicate either choices open to individuals (job, income) or exogenous circumstances (a salary scale or a tax scale). The ethical postulate introduced is the equality of each coefficient among different individuals, offered as an interpretation of the ‘fundamental equality of men’. Once the utility function has been defined and tested, justice in distribution is defined as equality of the values of that function for all individuals considered. A numerical illustration is added in which years of schooling and degree of independence are used as parameters to characterize twenty social groups and the just as distinct from the actual income distribution is calculated for the Netherlands around 1965.