IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Should we subsidize longevity?


  • LEROUX, Marie-Louise

    (Université catholique de Louvain (UCL). Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

    (Université catholique de Louvain (UCL). Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

  • PONTHIÈRE, Grégory


This paper studies the design of the optimal non linear taxation in an economy where longevity varies across agents, and depends on three factors: longevity genes, health investment and farsightedness. Provided earnings, farsightedness and genes are correlated, governmental intervention can be justified on two grounds: correction for a lack of farsightedness and redistribution across both earnings and genetic dimensions. Whether longevity-enhancing spending should be subsidized or taxed is shown to depend on the combined effects of myopia, self-selection and free-riding on the annuity returns. Our policy conclusions depend also on how productivity and genes are correlated, on the complementarity of genes and efforts in the survival function, and on how the government weights the welfare of heterogeneous agents. All in all, it might be desirable to tax longevity-enhancing spending.

Suggested Citation

  • LEROUX, Marie-Louise & PESTIEAU, Pierre & PONTHIÈRE, Grégory, 2008. "Should we subsidize longevity?," CORE Discussion Papers 2008058, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2008058

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Helmuth Cremer & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur & Pierre Pestieau, 2010. "Collective Annuities and Redistribution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(1), pages 23-41, February.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
    3. EECKHOUDT, Louis & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2007. "Fear of ruin and longevity enhancing investment," CORE Discussion Papers 2007032, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    4. LEROUX, Marie-Louise & PONTHIERE, Grégory, 2008. "Optimal tax policy and expected longevity: a mean and variance approach," CORE Discussion Papers 2008039, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    5. Pierre-André Jouvet & Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2010. "Longevity and environmental quality in an OLG model," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 100(3), pages 191-216, July.
    6. Jie Zhang & Junsen Zhang & Michael Leung, 2006. "Health investment, saving, and public policy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 68-93, February.
    7. LEROUX, Marie-Louise, 2008. "Endogenous differential mortality, non monitored effort and optimal non linear taxation," CORE Discussion Papers 2008029, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    8. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2011. "Optimal linear taxation under endogenous longevity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 213-237, January.
    9. Marie-Louise Leroux & Gregory Ponthiere, 2009. "Optimal tax policy and expected longevity: a mean and variance utility approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(4), pages 514-537, August.
    10. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere & Motohiro Sato, 2008. "Longevity, Health Spending, and Pay-as-you-Go Pensions," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(1), pages 1-18, March.
    11. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2006. "The Value of Health and Longevity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 871-904, October.
    12. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Leroux, Marie-Louise & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2013. "Utilitarianism and unequal longevities: A remedy?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 888-899.
    2. LEROUX, Marie - Louise & PONTHIERE, Grégory, 2009. "Wives, husbands and wheelchairs : Optimal tax policy under gender-specific health," CORE Discussion Papers 2009071, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00423933 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    optimal taxation; longevity; genetic background; heterogeneity; myopia.;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2008058. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alain GILLIS). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.