The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian

Marc Fleurbaey, Alain Trannoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


In a one-good world, there is a nice correspondence between the Pigou-Dalton principle of transfer and social welfare dominance. In this paper we study the case of multiple goods (without using prices as a means to come back to one dimension), and show that many results of the one-dimensional setting carry over to the multidimensional case when individuals are assumed to have identical preferences. But the nice correspondence breaks down as soon as individual preferences display minimal differences, and multidimensional versions of the transfer principle clash with the Pareto principle. This analysis reveals an interesting connection with the theory of fair allocation, since multidimensional transfer principles are closely related to the no-domination criterion, a weak version of the no-envy criterion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-263
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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