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The Welfare Economics of Population

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  • Broome, John

Abstract

Intuition suggests there is no value in adding people to the population if it brings no benefits to people already living: creating people is morally neutral in itself. This paper examines the difficulties of incorporating this intuition into a coherent theory of the value of population. It takes three existing theories within welfare economics--average utilitarianism, relativist utilitarianism, and critical-level utilitarianism--and considers whether they can satisfactorily accommodate the intuition that creating people is neutral. Copyright 1996 by Royal Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 48 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 177-93

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:48:y:1996:i:2:p:177-93

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Cited by:
  1. M. Fleurbaey & P. Michel, 1997. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," THEMA Working Papers 97-11, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  2. Margolis, Michael & Naevdal, Eric, 2004. "Safe Minimum Standards in Dynamic Resource Problems—Conditions for Living on the Edge of Risk," Discussion Papers dp-04-03, Resources For the Future.
  3. Mainwaring, Lynn, 2004. "Comparing futures: a positional approach to population ethics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 345-357, March.
  4. Subramanian, S., 2012. "Variable Populations and the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality: A Selective Overview," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  5. Chakravarty, Satya R. & Kanbur, Ravi & Mukherjee, Diganta, 2002. "Population Growth and Poverty Measurement," Working Papers 127303, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  6. Hassoun, Nicole & Subramanian, S., 2012. "An aspect of variable population poverty comparisons," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 238-241.

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