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

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  • Raouf BOUCEKKINE

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), CORE and University of Glasgow, Scotland)

  • Giorgio FABBRI

    (Dipartimento di Studi Economici S. Vinci, Universita di Napoli Parthenope)

Abstract

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 fertility and a reduced form relationship between demographic growth and economic growth. While in the traditional linear dilution model, the Parfit Repugnant Conclusion can never occur for realistic values of intertemporal substitution, we show that it occurs when population growth is linked to economic growth via an inverted U-shaped relationship. Finally, we find moving from the Benthamite to the Millian social welfare function may not only cause optimal population size to go up and consumption to go down, it may also favor the realization of the Repugnant Conclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Giorgio FABBRI, 2010. "Assessing the Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2010025, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2010025
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    Cited by:

    1. Pérez-Nievas, Mikel & Conde-Ruiz, José I. & Giménez, Eduardo L., 2019. "Efficiency and endogenous fertility," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 14(2), May.
    2. Gregory Ponthiere, 2016. "Utilitarian population ethics and births timing," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 189-238, April.
    3. Raouf Boucekkine & Blanca Martínez & J. Ramon Ruiz-Tamarit, 2018. "Optimal Population Growth as an Endogenous Discounting Problem: The Ramsey Case," Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems, in: Gustav Feichtinger & Raimund M. Kovacevic & Gernot Tragler (ed.), Control Systems and Mathematical Methods in Economics, pages 321-347, Springer.
    4. Boucekkine, R. & Fabbri, G. & Federico, S. & Gozzi, F., 2020. "Control theory in infinite dimension for the optimal location of economic activity: The role of social welfare function," Working Papers 2020-02, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    5. Boucekkine, R. & Fabbri, G. & Gozzi, F., 2014. "Egalitarianism under population change: Age structure does matter," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 86-100.
    6. Giorgio Fabbri & Raouf Boucekkiney & Fausto Gozzi, 2012. "Egalitarism Under Population Change: the Role of Growth and Lifetime Span," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_007, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    7. Diwakar Bharat & Sorek Gilad, 2017. "Human-capital spillover, population and R&D-based growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, January.
    8. Nicholas Lawson & Dean Spears, 2018. "Optimal population and exhaustible resource constraints," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 295-335, January.
    9. Boucekkine, R. & Martínez, B. & Ruiz-Tamarit, J.R., 2013. "Growth vs. level effect of population change on economic development: An inspection into human-capital-related mechanisms," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 312-334.
    10. Boucekkine, R. & Fabbri, G. & Federico, S. & Gozzi, F., 2020. "Control theory in infinite dimension for the optimal location of economic activity: The role of social welfare function," Working Papers 2020-02, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    11. Bharat Diwakar & Gilad Sorek, 2016. "Human-Capital Spillover, Population, and Economic Growth," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2016-02, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
    12. Stelter, Robert, 2014. "Over-aging - Are present human populations too old?," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100334, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Simone Marsiglio, 2017. "A simple endogenous growth model with endogenous fertility and environmental concern," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(3), pages 263-282, July.
    14. Marsiglio, Simone, 2014. "Reassessing Edgeworth’s conjecture when population dynamics is stochastic," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 130-140.
    15. Stelter, Robert, 2016. "Over-aging — Are present-day human populations too old?," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 116-143.
    16. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri & Salvatore Federico & Fausto Gozzi, 2020. "Optimal location of economic activity and population density: The role of the social welfare function," Working Papers halshs-02472772, HAL.
    17. Dean Spears & Mark Budolfson, 2021. "Repugnant conclusions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 57(3), pages 567-588, October.
    18. Spears, Dean & Budolfson, Mark, 2019. "Why Variable-Population Social Orderings Cannot Escape the Repugnant Conclusion: Proofs and Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 12668, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Kohei Kamaga, 2016. "Infinite-horizon social evaluation with variable population size," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(1), pages 207-232, June.
    20. Cinzia Colapinto & Danilo Liuzzi & Simone Marsiglio, 2017. "Sustainability and intertemporal equity: a multicriteria approach," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 251(1), pages 271-284, April.
    21. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri & Fausto Gozzi, 2010. "Life span and the problem of optimal population size," Working Papers halshs-00536073, HAL.
    22. Alberto Bucci, 2015. "Product Proliferation, Population, and Economic Growth," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 170-197.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion; AK models; endogenous fertility; intertemporal altruism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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