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Should Income Transfers be Targeted or Universal? Insights from Public Pension Influences on Elderly Mortality in Canada

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  • Herbert Emery

    (University of Calgary)

  • Jesse Matheson

    (University of Calgary)

Abstract

We investigate the impact of Canada’s means-tested and universal public pension programs on the mortality rates of recipient age groups for the period 1921–1966. We find that only the universal program significantly reduced recipient age group mortality rates. The implied social value of the mortality risk reduction from this program is one-tenth of the value per statistical life associated with contemporary government policy, meaning that Canadians did not need to place a high value on the life of a senior to justify the higher cost of the universal program.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2011-02.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
Date of revision: 01 Jan 2011
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2011-02

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  8. Besley, Timothy, 1990. "Means Testing versus Universal Provision in Poverty Alleviation Programmes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 57(225), pages 119-29, February.
  9. Cropper, Maureen L & Aydede, Sema K & Portney, Paul R, 1994. "Preferences for Life Saving Programs: How the Public Discounts Time and Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 243-65, May.
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