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Measuring Variations In Lifetime Welfare Ex Ante And Ex Post: Some Exploratory Calculations

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  • Gregory Ponthiere

Abstract

Whereas longevity-adjusted consumption measures have become increasingly used as indicators of lifetime standards of living, it remained unnoticed that those measures, by relying on period - rather than cohort - life tables, constitute indicators of expected - rather than actual - lifetime standards of living. In order to estimate the actual gap between ex ante and ex post measures of lifetime welfare, this paper computes, for 19th-century European economies, longevity-adjusted consumption measures based on period and cohort life tables. It is shown that the gap between ex ante and ex post measures is statistically significant, and that attempts to reduce it are likely to be unsuccessful, because standards of living tend to exhibit, over temporal horizons as long as a human life, structural breaks, which make the ex ante measurement of lifetime welfare highly speculative.
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  • Gregory Ponthiere, 2011. "Measuring Variations In Lifetime Welfare Ex Ante And Ex Post: Some Exploratory Calculations," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 255-291, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:buecrs:v:63:y:2011:i:3:p:255-291
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2012. "The public economics of increasing longevity," Working Papers halshs-00676492, HAL.
    2. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2012. "The Public Economics of Increasing Longevity," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 200(1), pages 41-74, March.
    3. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2012. "The Public Economics of Increasing Longevity," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 200(1), pages 41-74, March.

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