IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Utilitarianism and unequal longevities: A remedy?

  • Leroux, Marie-Louise
  • Ponthiere, Gregory

In the context of unequal deterministic longevities, classical utilitarianism exhibits, under time-additive individual preferences, a counterintuitive tendency to redistribute resources from short-lived agents towards long-lived agents, against any intuition for compensation. We examine the robustness of that result to the introduction of risky lifetime, and to a broader class of individual preferences. It is shown that classical utilitarianism remains unable to provide, in that broader framework, a general redistribution towards the short-lived. Then, we propose a remedy, which consists in imputing, when solving the social planner's allocation problem, the consumption equivalent of a long life to the consumption of long-lived agents. This compensation-constrained utilitarianism is shown to reduce welfare inequalities across agents with unequal lifetimes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264999312003422
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

Volume (Year): 30 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 888-899

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:30:y:2013:i:c:p:888-899
DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2012.10.006
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30411

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Marc Fleurbaey, 2010. "Assessing Risky Social Situations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 649-680, 08.
  2. LEROUX, Marie-Louise & PONTHIERE, Gregory, . "Optimal tax policy and expected longevity: a mean and variance utility approach," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2158, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2008. "Optimal linear taxation under endogenous longevity," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586241, HAL.
  4. Broome, John, 2004. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199243761, December.
  5. Bommier, Antoine & Leroux, Marie-Louise & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie, 2009. "On the Public Economics of Annuities with Differential Mortality," TSE Working Papers 09-021, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  6. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Marc Fleurbaey, 2005. "Health, Wealth, and Fairness," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(2), pages 253-284, 05.
  8. repec:pse:psecon:2008-46 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthiere, 2009. "Should we Subsidize Longevity?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2614, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Marc Fleurbaey & Marie-Louise Leroux & Grégory Ponthière, 2014. "Compensating the dead," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-01053598, HAL.
    • Marc Fleurbaey & Marie-Louise Leroux & Gregory Ponthiere, 2011. "Compensating The Dead," Working Papers 1370, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
  11. Antoine Bommier, 2006. "Uncertain Lifetime And Intertemporal Choice: Risk Aversion As A Rationale For Time Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1223-1246, November.
  12. Winfried Pohlmeier & Luc Bauwens & David Veredas, 2007. "High frequency financial econometrics. Recent developments," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/136223, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. AMIR, Rabah, . "Supermodularity and complementarity in economics: an elementary survey," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1823, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521887427, Junio.
  15. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1971. "A Utilitarian Approach to the Concept of Equality in Public Expenditures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 409-415.
  16. LEROUX, Marie-Louise & PONTHIERE, Grégory, 2008. "Optimal tax policy and expected longevity: a mean and variance approach," CORE Discussion Papers 2008039, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  17. Dan Usher, 1973. "An Imputation to the Measure of Economic Growth for Changes in Life Expectancy," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Economic and Social Performance, pages 193-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:30:y:2013:i:c:p:888-899. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.