Olson Book Manuscript Workshop

Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
301 Marx Hall

Please join us for a discussion of Kristi Olson’s book manuscript. A short description of the book follows. Commentators include: Charles Beitz, Marc Fleurbaey, Adam Kern, Debra Satz, Drew Schroeder, Anna Stilz, and Daniel Viehoff.

Please register by February 9 with Kimberly Girman, kgirman@princeton.edu 

Let Them Divide Cake: The Solidarity Approach to Fair Compensation

How should we divide a cake fairly between us? The question, at least for most of us, is not a difficult one. One of us should divide, and the other chooses. Under standard assumptions (e.g., steady hands), the resulting slices will be equal. They also will be envy-free: neither of us prefers the other’s slice. The chooser does not prefer the other slice since, if she did prefer it, she would have chosen it. And the divider does not prefer the other slice since, knowing he will be left with whichever slice the chooser does not select, he would, by hypothesis, divide the cake such that he was indifferent between the two. Because the distribution of cake in the example above is envy-free, it satisfies what economists call the envy test. This book uses insights gleaned from the envy test—although not the test itself—to develop a theory of fair compensation for labor.

Kristi Olson is an assistant professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College where she works on issues of distributive justice. Before joining Bowdoin’s philosophy department, she spent two years as a postdoctoral research associate and lecturer at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values and two years as an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University. Her articles have appeared in "Philosophy & Public Affairs," "The Canadian Journal of Philosophy," and "Politics, Philosophy & Economics."