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Dworkin's paradox.

Baek SK, Choi JK, Kim BJ - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: Following a thought experiment by Dworkin, this work considers a society of individuals with different preferences on the welfare distribution and an official to mediate the coordination among them.Based on a simple assumption that an individual's welfare is proportional to how her preference is fulfilled by the actual distribution, we show that an egalitarian preference is a strict Nash equilibrium and can be favorable even in certain inhomogeneous situations.These suggest how communication can encourage and secure a notion of fairness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Integrated Science Laboratory, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
How to distribute welfare in a society is a key issue in the subject of distributional justice, which is deeply involved with notions of fairness. Following a thought experiment by Dworkin, this work considers a society of individuals with different preferences on the welfare distribution and an official to mediate the coordination among them. Based on a simple assumption that an individual's welfare is proportional to how her preference is fulfilled by the actual distribution, we show that an egalitarian preference is a strict Nash equilibrium and can be favorable even in certain inhomogeneous situations. These suggest how communication can encourage and secure a notion of fairness.

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obtained by solving Eq. (8) within a region  for .(A) . (B) . The crosses show .
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pone-0038529-g003: obtained by solving Eq. (8) within a region for .(A) . (B) . The crosses show .

Mentions: In order to see whether egalitarians can eventually take over the society, we need to check whether the egalitarian preference remains as an attractive alternative when the society has both egalitarians and non-egalitarians with significant numbers. Let us imagine an inhomogeneous society where there are roughly two large groups: every person in one group of size occupies a high index and believes that the welfare should be proportional to . On the other hand, every person in the other group of size has a low index and an egalitarian preference. Our question is what kind of preference is good for a person on the border, i.e., with index . Again, since people with identical preferences will get the same amount of welfare, the focal person on the border need not distinguish the members in each group: suppose that she wishes for each member in the egalitarian group and for each member in the non-egalitarian group. The normalization condition then determines her self-interest . Depending on how she decides and , her final welfare will be calculated by analyzing the following matrix,(8)where the second row describes this focal person . The conservation of the total welfare is imposed by setting . When is small, the maximum of is close to the egalitarian solution (Fig. 3A). It agrees with the result of the homogeneously unequal preferences given above since the egalitarian preference is still an absolute minority. Hence, if this person can choose her own preference, the society will possibly have one more egalitarian. As becomes larger, however, the situation gets different in that the maximum is located far from the egalitarian solution (Fig. 3B). It implies that the transition process toward the egalitarian direction may exhibit transient behavior, instead of being smooth all the time.


Dworkin's paradox.

Baek SK, Choi JK, Kim BJ - PLoS ONE (2012)

obtained by solving Eq. (8) within a region  for .(A) . (B) . The crosses show .
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3383739&req=5

pone-0038529-g003: obtained by solving Eq. (8) within a region for .(A) . (B) . The crosses show .
Mentions: In order to see whether egalitarians can eventually take over the society, we need to check whether the egalitarian preference remains as an attractive alternative when the society has both egalitarians and non-egalitarians with significant numbers. Let us imagine an inhomogeneous society where there are roughly two large groups: every person in one group of size occupies a high index and believes that the welfare should be proportional to . On the other hand, every person in the other group of size has a low index and an egalitarian preference. Our question is what kind of preference is good for a person on the border, i.e., with index . Again, since people with identical preferences will get the same amount of welfare, the focal person on the border need not distinguish the members in each group: suppose that she wishes for each member in the egalitarian group and for each member in the non-egalitarian group. The normalization condition then determines her self-interest . Depending on how she decides and , her final welfare will be calculated by analyzing the following matrix,(8)where the second row describes this focal person . The conservation of the total welfare is imposed by setting . When is small, the maximum of is close to the egalitarian solution (Fig. 3A). It agrees with the result of the homogeneously unequal preferences given above since the egalitarian preference is still an absolute minority. Hence, if this person can choose her own preference, the society will possibly have one more egalitarian. As becomes larger, however, the situation gets different in that the maximum is located far from the egalitarian solution (Fig. 3B). It implies that the transition process toward the egalitarian direction may exhibit transient behavior, instead of being smooth all the time.

Bottom Line: Following a thought experiment by Dworkin, this work considers a society of individuals with different preferences on the welfare distribution and an official to mediate the coordination among them.Based on a simple assumption that an individual's welfare is proportional to how her preference is fulfilled by the actual distribution, we show that an egalitarian preference is a strict Nash equilibrium and can be favorable even in certain inhomogeneous situations.These suggest how communication can encourage and secure a notion of fairness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Integrated Science Laboratory, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
How to distribute welfare in a society is a key issue in the subject of distributional justice, which is deeply involved with notions of fairness. Following a thought experiment by Dworkin, this work considers a society of individuals with different preferences on the welfare distribution and an official to mediate the coordination among them. Based on a simple assumption that an individual's welfare is proportional to how her preference is fulfilled by the actual distribution, we show that an egalitarian preference is a strict Nash equilibrium and can be favorable even in certain inhomogeneous situations. These suggest how communication can encourage and secure a notion of fairness.

Show MeSH