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Millian Efficiency with Endogenous Fertility

  • J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz
  • Eduardo L. Giménez
  • Mikel Pérez-Nievas

Should governments implement policies that affect fertility decisions on efficiency grounds? What is the correct notion of efficiency to use? To address these issues, this paper develops an extension of the notion of Pareto efficiency, referred to as Millian efficiency, to evaluate symmetric allocations in an overlapping generations setting with endogenous fertility. This extension is based on preferences of those agents who are actually alive, and exclusively allows for welfare comparisons of symmetric allocations. First, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions to determine whether an allocation is Millian efficient or not, and we show that the sufficient conditions for dynamic efficiency offered by Cass (1972) and Balasko and Shell (1980) cannot be directly applied when fertility decisions are endogenous. Second, we characterize Millian efficient allocations as the equilibria of a decentralized price mechanism, and we present a sufficient condition for dynamic efficiency that uses the sequence of prices associated to such decentralized equilibria. Finally, we analyse how intergenerational policies should be designed to restore efficiency and achieve net welfare gains in two different settings in which markets yield inefficient allocations: dynamic inefficiencies and financial market incompleteness regarding human capital. In the former, a pay-as-you-go social security system eliminates dynamic inefficiencies, provided pensions are explicitly linked with fertility decisions. In the latter, a specific link between social security and public education becomes a necessary condition for Millian efficiency. Copyright , Wiley-Blackwell.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 77 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 154-187

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:1:p:154-187
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  1. Mikhail Golosov & Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2004. "Efficiency with Endogenous Population Growth," NBER Working Papers 10231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Balasko, Yves & Shell, Karl, 1980. "The overlapping-generations model, I: The case of pure exchange without money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 281-306, December.
  3. Lakshmi Kanta Raut, 1992. "Effect of Social Security on Fertility and Savings: An Overlapping Generations Model," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 25-43, July.
  4. Philippe Michel & Bertrand Wigniolle, 2007. "On Efficient Child Making," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 307-326, May.
  5. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Alessandro Cigno, 2003. "The Political Economy of Intergenerational Cooperation," CHILD Working Papers wp05_03, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  7. Cass, David, 1972. "On capital overaccumulation in the aggregative, neoclassical model of economic growth: A complete characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 200-223, April.
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  9. Galor, Oded & Ryder, Harl E., 1991. "Dynamic efficiency of steady-state equilibria in an overlapping-generations model with productive capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 385-390, April.
  10. Bental, Benjamin, 1989. "The Old Age Security Hypothesis and Optimal Population Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 285-301.
  11. Cigno, Alessandro, 1992. "Children and Pensions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 175-83, August.
  12. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1985. "Endogenous fertility and optimal population size," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 93-106, June.
  13. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1982. "Population size and the social welfare functions of Bentham and Mill," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(1-2), pages 61-64.
  14. Alessandro Cigno & Martin Werding, 2007. "Children and Pensions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262033690, June.
  15. van Groezen, Bas & Leers, Theo & Meijdam, Lex, 2003. "Social security and endogenous fertility: pensions and child allowances as siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 233-251, February.
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