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Longer Life, Higher Welfare?

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  • Michael Grimm
  • Kenneth Harttgen

Abstract

Whereas life expectancy continues to increase in most industrialized countries many developing and transition countries are today confronted with decreases in life expectancy. Usual measures employed to compare welfare over time and space fail to deal with such demographic change and may lead to the so-called 'repugnant' conclusion that lower life expectancy involves higher welfare per capita. We illustrate this type of transmission channel using various welfare criteria and reference populations. We also consider feed-back effects from the demography on the economy using a neo-classical growth model. We show that the 'repugnant' conclusion can be avoided if we choose a lifetime welfare measure instead of a period (or snapshot) welfare measure. All concepts are illustrated empirically using a small sample of developed and developing countries.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.44054.de/dp556.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 556.

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Length: 24 p.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp556

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Keywords: Life expectancy; Repugnant conclusion; Welfare comparisons;

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References

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  1. Blackorby,Charles & Bossert,Walter & Donaldson,David J., 2005. "Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521532587, October.
  2. Ravi Kanbur & Diganta Mukherji, 2006. "Premature Mortality and Poverty Measurement," Working Papers id:707, eSocialSciences.
  3. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
  4. Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1976. "Dynamic Aspects of Earnings Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alwyn Young, 2005. "The Gift of the Dying: The Tragedy of Aids and the Welfare of Future African Generations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 423-466, May.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "On the contribution of demographic change to aggregate poverty measures for the developing world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3580, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Kenneth Harttgen, 2007. "The Impact of HIV on Children┬┤s Welfare," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 157, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Boboc, Cristina & Driouchi, Ahmed & Titan, Emilia, 2010. "Interrelations between Education, Health, Income and Economic Development in Europe with Emphasis on New Members of European Union," MPRA Paper 22235, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Apr 2010.

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