An axiomatization of the mixed utilitarian–maximin social welfare orderings

  • Walter Bossert
  • Kohei KamagaEmail author
Research Article


We axiomatize the class of mixed utilitarian–maximin social welfare orderings. These orderings are convex combinations of utilitarianism and the maximin rule. Our first step is to show that the conjunction of the weak Suppes–Sen principle, the Pigou–Dalton transfer principle, continuity and the composite transfer principle is equivalent to the existence of a continuous and monotone ordering of pairs of average and minimum utilities that can be used to rank utility vectors. Using this observation, the main result of the paper establishes that the utilitarian–maximin social welfare orderings are characterized by adding the axiom of cardinal full comparability. In addition, we examine the consequences of replacing cardinal full comparability with ratio-scale full comparability and translation-scale full comparability, respectively. We also discuss the classes of normative inequality measures corresponding to our social welfare orderings.


Social welfare ordering Utilitarianism Maximin principle Normative inequality index 

JEL Classification



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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and CIREQUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsSophia UniversityTokyoJapan

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