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Altruism, fertility, and the value of children: Health policy evaluation and intergenerational welfare

  • Birchenall, Javier A.
  • Soares, Rodrigo R.

This paper accounts for the value of children and future generations in the evaluation of health policies. This is achieved through the incorporation of altruism and fertility in a "value of life" type of framework. We are able to express adults' willingness to pay for changes in child mortality and also to incorporate the welfare of future generations in the evaluation of current policies. Our model clarifies a series of puzzles from the literature on the "value of life" and on intergenerational welfare comparisons. We show that, by incorporating altruism and fertility into the analysis of the recent U.S. experience, the estimated welfare gain of a young adult from reductions in mortality easily doubles.

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

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 280-295

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:1-2:p:280-295
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