Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds

Roberto Veneziani (Queen Mary University of London,)

November 4, 2016, 11:00–12:15

Room MS 003

Public Economics


We model opportunities in society as ‘chances of success’ , that is as they are commonly described by practitioners. We show that a classical liberal principle of justice together with a limited principle of social rationality imply that the social objective should be to maximise the chance that everybody in society succeeds. Technically, this means using a ‘Nash’ welfare criterion. A particular consequence is that the failure of even only one individual must be considered maximally detrimental. We also study a refinement of this criterion and its extension to problems of intergenerational justice.