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Egalitarism under Population Change. The Role of Growth and Lifetime Span

  • Raouf Boucekkine


    (Aix-Marseille Université, Greqam and UCL, Ires-Core)

  • Giorgio Fabbri

    (Università di Napoli Parthenope and UCL, Ires)

  • Fausto Gozzi


    (Università di Napoli Parthenope)

We study the compatibility of the optimal population size concepts produced by different social welfare functions and egalitarism meant as “equal consumption for all individuals of all generations”. Social welfare functions are parameterized by an altruism parameter generating the Benthamite and Millian criteria as polar cases. The economy considered is in continuous time and is populated by homogenous cohorts with a given life span. Production functions are linear in labor, (costly) procreation is the unique way to transfer resources forward in time. First, we show that egalitarism is optimal whatever the degree of altruism when life spans are infinite. That is egalitarism does not discriminate between the social welfare functions considered. However, when life spans are finite, egalitarism does not arise systematically as an optimal outcome. In particular, it depends on the degree of altruism, and also on the magnitude of the life span. In particular, to be enforced in a growing economy, that is when population growth is optimal in the long-run, this egalitarian rule can only hold when (i) the welfare function is Benthamite, (ii) and for a large enough life span. When altruism is impure, egalitarism is impossible in the context of a growing economy. Either in the Millian case, whatever the life span, or in the Benthamite/impure altruism cases, for small enough life spans, procreation is never optimal, leading to finite time extinction and maximal consumption for all existing individuals.

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Paper provided by Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France in its series AMSE Working Papers with number 1211.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 12 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1211
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  1. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2000. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends and Endogenous Growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2000007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  2. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Boucekkine, Raouf & Licandro, Omar & Puch, Luis A. & del Rio, Fernando, 2005. "Vintage capital and the dynamics of the AK model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 39-72, January.
  5. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri, 2013. "Assessing Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 751-767, April.
  6. Mikhail Golosov & Larry E. Jones & Michèle Tertilt, 2007. "Efficiency with Endogenous Population Growth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1039-1071, 07.
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  8. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  9. Fabbri, Giorgio & Gozzi, Fausto, 2008. "Solving optimal growth models with vintage capital: The dynamic programming approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 331-373, November.
  10. Palivos, Theodore & Yip, Chong K., 1993. "Optimal population size and endogenous growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 107-110.
  11. Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Giorgio FABBRI & Fausto GOZZI, 2009. "Maintenance and investment : Complements or Substitutes ? A Reappraisal," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2009010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  12. repec:oup:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:1:p:154-187 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Ravallion, M. & Datt, G., 1991. "Growth and Redistribution Components of Changes in Poverty Measures," Papers 83, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
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  15. Holger Strulik, 2001. "The Role of Human Capital and Population Growth in R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20109, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.
  16. Geir B. Asheim, 2010. "Intergenerational Equity," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 197-222, 09.
  17. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Boucekkine, Raouf & Germain, Marc & Licandro, Omar, 1997. "Replacement Echoes in the Vintage Capital Growth Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 333-348, June.
  19. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Eduardo L. Gimenez & Mikel Perez-Nievas, 2006. "Millian Efficiency with Endogenous Fertility," Documentos de trabajo - Analise Economica 0037, IDEGA - Instituto Universitario de Estudios e Desenvolvemento de Galicia.
  20. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2007. "The Neolithic Revolution and Contemporary Variations in Life Expectancy," Working Papers 2007-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  21. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
  22. Razin, Assaf & Yuen, Chi-Wa, 1995. "Utilitarian Tradeoff between Population Growth and Income Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 81-87, February.
  23. Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Giorgio FABBRI, 2010. "Assessing the Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010025, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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