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The Welfare Economics of Population

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  • Broome, John

Abstract

Intuition suggests there is no value in adding people to the population if it brings no benefits to people already living: creating people is morally neutral in itself. This paper examines the difficulties of incorporating this intuition into a coherent theory of the value of population. It takes three existing theories within welfare economics--average utilitarianism, relativist utilitarianism, and critical-level utilitarianism--and considers whether they can satisfactorily accommodate the intuition that creating people is neutral. Copyright 1996 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Broome, John, 1996. "The Welfare Economics of Population," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 177-193, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:48:y:1996:i:2:p:177-93
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    Cited by:

    1. Hassoun, Nicole & S. Subramanian, 2010. "On Some Problems of Variable Population Poverty Comparisons," WIDER Working Paper Series 071, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Fleurbaey, Marc & Michel, Philippe, 2003. "Intertemporal equity and the extension of the Ramsey criterion," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 777-802, September.
    3. Michael Margolis & Eric Nævdal, 2008. "Safe Minimum Standards in Dynamic Resource Problems: Conditions for Living on the Edge of Risk," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 401-423, July.
    4. Subramanian, Sreenivasan, 2012. "Variable Populations and the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 053, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Satya Chakravarty & Ravi Kanbur & Diganta Mukherjee, 2006. "Population growth and poverty measurement," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 26(3), pages 471-483, June.
    6. Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 1998. "La comparación de distribuciones de renta en un contexto dinámico: dificultades y perspectivas," DE - Documentos de Trabajo. Economía. DE 3886, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    7. Hassoun, Nicole & Subramanian, S., 2012. "An aspect of variable population poverty comparisons," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 238-241.
    8. Dasgupta, P., 2016. "Birth and Death," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1660, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dasgupta, Partha, 1998. "Population, consumption and resources: Ethical issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 139-152, February.
    11. repec:spr:metron:v:75:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s40300-017-0112-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Mainwaring, Lynn, 2004. "Comparing futures: a positional approach to population ethics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 345-357, March.

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