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Egalitarism under Population Change: The Role of Growth and Lifetime Span

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  • Raouf Boucekkine

    ()
    (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - Aix-Marseille Univ. - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM), IRES-CORE - Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Giorgio Fabbri

    ()
    (Dipartimento di Studi Economici S. Vinci - Università di Napoli Parthenope)

  • Fausto Gozzi

    ()
    (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali - Libera Università INTERNAZIONALE DEGLI STUDI SOCIALI G. CARLI)

Abstract

We study the compatibility of the optimal population size concepts produced by different social welfare functions and egalitarism meant as "equal consumption for all individuals of all generations". Social welfare functions are parameterized by an altruism parameter generating the Benthamite and Millian criteria as polar cases. The economy considered is in continuous time and is populated by homogenous cohorts with a given life span. Production functions are linear in labor, (costly) procreation is the unique way to transfer resources forward in time. First, we show that egalitarism is optimal whatever the degree of altruism when life spans are infinite. That is egalitarism does not discriminate between the social welfare functions considered. However, when life spans are finite, egalitarism does not arise systematically as an optimal outcome. In particular, it depends on the degree of altruism, and also on the magnitude of the life span. In particular, to be enforced in a growing economy, that is when population growth is optimal in the long-run, this egalitarian rule can only hold when (i) the welfare function is Benthamite, (ii) and for a large enough life span. When altruism is impure, egalitarism is impossible in the context of a growing economy. Either in the Millian case, whatever the life span, or in the Benthamite/impure altruism cases, for small enough life spans, procreation is never optimal, leading to finite time extinction and maximal consumption for all existing individuals.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00793188.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00793188

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Keywords: Egalitarism; Population change; Optimal population size; Benthamite Vs Millian criterion; Finite lives; Growth;

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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  2. Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Giorgio FABBRI & Fausto GOZZI, 2009. "Maintenance and investment : Complements or Substitutes ? A Reappraisal," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2009010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Mikel Perez-Nievas & Eduardo L. Gimenez & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz, 2007. "Millian efficiency with endogenous fertility," 2007 Meeting Papers 338, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  6. Raouf Boucekkine & Marc Germain & Omar Licandro, . "Replacement echoes in the vintage capital growth model," Working Papers 96-16, FEDEA.
  7. Razin, Assaf & Yuen, Chi-Wa, 1995. "Utilitarian Tradeoff between Population Growth and Income Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 81-87, February.
  8. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1982. "Population size and the social welfare functions of Bentham and Mill," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(1-2), pages 61-64.
  9. Boucekkine, Raouf & Del Rio, Fernando & Licandro, Omar, 2000. "Vintage capital and the dynamics of the AK model," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 0003, CEPREMAP.
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  11. Palivos, Theodore & Yip, Chong K., 1993. "Optimal population size and endogenous growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 107-110.
  12. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri, 2013. "Assessing Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 751-767, April.
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  15. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, . "vintage human capital, demographic trends and endogenous growth," Working Papers 2000-02, FEDEA.
  16. Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Giorgio FABBRI, 2010. "Assessing the Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010025, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  17. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  18. Fabbri, Giorgio & Gozzi, Fausto, 2008. "Solving optimal growth models with vintage capital: The dynamic programming approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 331-373, November.
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