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Prevention against equality?

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Author Info

  • Marc Fleurbaey

    (Economic Theory Center - Princeton University)

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

Abstract

Common sense supports prevention policies aimed at improving survival prospects among the population. It is also widely acknowledged that an early death is a serious disadvantage, and that attention should be paid to the compensation of short-lived individuals. This paper re-examines the compatibility of those two concerns: prevention against early death and compensation for early death. We show that, under mild conditions, no social ordering on allocations can satisfy a concern for prevention and a concern for compensation. The reason is that if it is socially desirable to raise the number of survivors through prevention, it must also be, under costly prevention, desirable to deteriorate the living standards of the short-lived. We then explore two approaches to the prevention / compensation dilemma, and study the associated optimal allocation of resources.

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File URL: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/67/73/93/PDF/wp201212.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00677393.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00677393

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00677393
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Related research

Keywords: Compensation ; Equality ; Longevity ; Mortality ; Prevention;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Paul Contoyannis & Andrea M Jones, . "Socioeconomic Status, Health and Lifestyle," Discussion Papers 01/19, Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. 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.
  3. Balia, Silvia & Jones, Andrew M., 2008. "Mortality, lifestyle and socio-economic status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-26, January.
  4. Pazner, Elisha A & Schmeidler, David, 1978. "Egalitarian Equivalent Allocations: A New Concept of Economic Equity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 671-87, November.
  5. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody, 1996. "Employment, unemployment, and problem drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 409-434, August.
  6. Mullahy, John & Portney, Paul R., 1990. "Air pollution, cigarette smoking, and the production of respiratory health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 193-205, September.
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