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Assessing Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up

  • Raouf Boucekkine


  • Giorgio Fabbri

Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion stipulates that under total utilitarianism, it might be optimal to choose increasing population size while consumption per capita goes to zero. We evaluate this claim within a canonical AK model with endogenous population size and a reduced form relationship between demographic and economic growth. First we characterize the optimal solution paths for any capital dilution function. Second, we prove that while the Repugnant Conclusion can never occur for realistic values of intertemporal substitution in the traditional linear dilution model, it does occur when population growth is linked to economic growth via an inverted U-shaped relationship. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

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Article provided by Springer & European Society for Population Economics in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 751-767

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:26:y:2013:i:2:p:751-767
DOI: 10.1007/s00148-011-0384-6
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  1. Strulik, Holger, 2002. "The Role of Human Capital and Population Growth in R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 170, Royal Economic Society.
  2. 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.
  3. Kenneth Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Lawrence Goulder & Gretchen Daily & Paul Ehrlich & Geoffrey Heal & Simon Levin & Karl-Göran Mäler & Stephen Schneider & David Starrett & Brian Walker, 2004. "Are We Consuming Too Much?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 147-172, Summer.
  4. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, . "vintage human capital, demographic trends and endogenous growth," Working Papers 2000-02, FEDEA.
  5. Palivos, Theodore & Yip, Chong K., 1993. "Optimal population size and endogenous growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 107-110.
  6. Alberto Bucci, 2007. "Population Growth in a Model of Economic Growth with Human Capital Accumulation and Horizontal R&D," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1049, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  7. Allen Kelley & Robert Schmidt, 1995. "Aggregate population and economic growth correlations: The role of the components of demographic change," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(4), pages 543-555, November.
  8. Kelley, Allen C. & Schmidt, Robert M., 1995. "Aggregate Population and Economic Growth Correlations: The Role of the Components of Demographic Change," Working Papers 95-37, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  9. Razin, Assaf & Yuen, Chi-Wa, 1995. "Utilitarian Tradeoff between Population Growth and Income Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 8(1), pages 81-87, February.
  10. Marc Nerlove & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1985. "Population Size: Individual Choice and Social Optima," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 321-334.
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