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Rotten parents

  • Baland, Jean-Marie
  • Robinson, James A.

The autors study the implications of the trade-off between child quality and child quantity for the efficiency of the rate of population growth. They show that if quantity and quality are inversely related then, even in the case of full altruism within the family, population growth is inefficiently high, if the family does not have, or does not choose to use, compensating instruments (for example, bequests are at a corner). In non-altruistic models this trade-off certaibly generates a population problem. The authors therefore prove that the repugnant conclusion is not only repugnant, it may be inefficient. However, we cannot expect intra-family contracting to resolve the inefficiency since it involves contracts which are not credible.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 84 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 341-356

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:84:y:2002:i:3:p:341-356
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
  2. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "The Family and the State," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, April.
  3. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
  4. Zhang, Junsen & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1993. "The old-age security hypothesis revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 191-202, June.
  5. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1988. "A bequest-constrained economy: Welfare analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 203-220, November.
  6. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-59, October.
  7. John BROOME, 1992. "The Value of Living," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1992021, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  8. Kimball, Miles S., 1987. "Making sense of two-sided altruism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-326, September.
  9. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Partha Dasgupta, 1995. "The Population Problem: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1879-1902, December.
  12. Becker, Gary S & Barro, Robert J, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25, February.
  13. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Testing the Quantity-Quality Fertility Model: The Use of Twins as a Natural Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 227-40, January.
  16. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  17. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  18. Neher, Philip A, 1971. "Peasants, Procreation, and Pensions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 380-89, June.
  19. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-59, October.
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