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Rotten parents

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  • Baland, Jean-Marie
  • Robinson, James A.

Abstract

The autors study the implications of the trade-off between child quality and child quantity for the efficiency of the rate of population growth. They show that if quantity and quality are inversely related then, even in the case of full altruism within the family, population growth is inefficiently high, if the family does not have, or does not choose to use, compensating instruments (for example, bequests are at a corner). In non-altruistic models this trade-off certaibly generates a population problem. The authors therefore prove that the repugnant conclusion is not only repugnant, it may be inefficient. However, we cannot expect intra-family contracting to resolve the inefficiency since it involves contracts which are not credible.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 84 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 341-356

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:84:y:2002:i:3:p:341-356

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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References

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  1. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, . "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  2. John Laitner & F. Thomas Juster, 1993. "New evidence on altruism: a study of TIAA-CREF retirees," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 86, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-59, October.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  6. Marc Nerlove & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1988. "A Bequest-Constrained Economy: Welfare Analysis," NBER Working Papers 2779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kimball, Miles S., 1987. "Making sense of two-sided altruism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-326, September.
  8. Zhang, Junsen & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1993. "The old-age security hypothesis revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 191-202, June.
  9. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
  10. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
  11. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Testing the Quantity-Quality Fertility Model: The Use of Twins as a Natural Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 227-40, January.
  12. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  13. Partha Dasgupta, 1995. "The Population Problem: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1879-1902, December.
  14. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, . "The Family and the State," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  15. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-59, October.
  16. Neher, Philip A, 1971. "Peasants, Procreation, and Pensions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 380-89, June.
  17. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert Fenge & Jakob von Weizs├Ącker, 2006. "Mixing Bismarck and Child Pension Systems:An Optimum Taxation Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1751, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Cigno, Alessandro, 2006. "The political economy of intergenerational cooperation," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  3. Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Do Dropouts Drop Out Too Soon? International Evidence From Changes in School-Leaving Laws," NBER Working Papers 10155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. C. Chu, 2008. "Biodiversity decline and population externalities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 173-181, January.

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