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Published December 1985 | public
Journal Article

More on Harsanyi's utilitarian cardinal welfare theorem


If individuals and society both obey the expected utility hypothesis and social alternatives are uncertain, then the social utility must be a linear combination of the individual utilities, provided the society is indifferent when all its members are. This result was first proven by Harsanyi [4] who made implicit assumptions in the proof not actually needed for the result (see [5]). This note presents a straightforward proof of Harsanyi's theorem based on a separating hyperplane argument.

Additional Information

© 1985 Springer-Verlag. Received: 21 September 1984; Accepted: 25 October 1984. I wish to thank Stephen Selinger for pointing out Resnick's argument to me and W. A. J. Luxemburg for a useful discussion which simplified the argument.

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