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Life span and the problem of optimal population size

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  • Raouf BOUCEKKINE

    () (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) and GREQAM, Université Aix-Marseille II)

  • Giorgio FABBRI

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

  • Fausto GOZZI

    () (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche ed Aziendali, Università LUISS - Guido Carli, Rome)

Abstract

We reconsider the optimal population size problem in a continuous time economy populated by homogenous cohorts with a fixed life span. Linear production functions in the labor input and standard rearing costs are also considered. First, we study under which conditions the successive cohorts will be given the same consumption per capita. We show that this egalitarian rule is optimal whatever the degree of altruism when life spans are infinite. However, when life spans are finite, this rule can only be optimal in the Benthamite case, i.e. when the degree of altruism is maximal. Second, we prove that under finite life spans the Millian welfare function leads to optimal extinction at finite time whatever the lifetime. In contrast, the Benthamite case is much more involved: for isoelastic utility functions, it gives rise to two threshold lifetime values, say T0

Suggested Citation

  • Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Giorgio FABBRI & Fausto GOZZI, 2011. "Life span and the problem of optimal population size," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011018, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2011018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    2. Boucekkine, R. & Fabbri, G. & Gozzi, F., 2010. "Maintenance and investment: Complements or substitutes? A reappraisal," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2420-2439, December.
    3. David Croix & Davide Dottori, 2008. "Easter Island’s collapse: a tale of a population race," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-55, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri, 2010. "Assessing the Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," Working Papers 2010_20, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    6. Asheim, Geir B., 1991. "Unjust intergenerational allocations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 350-371, August.
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    8. 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.
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    10. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
    11. Arrow, Kenneth J. & Bensoussan, Alain & Feng, Qi & Sethi, Suresh P., 2008. "The Genuine Saving Criterion and the Value of Population in an Economy with Endogenous Population Changes," MPRA Paper 14622, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    1. repec:taf:raaexx:v:18:y:2011:i:3:p:287-305 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri & Fausto Gozzi, 2011. "Revisiting the Optimal Population Size Problem under Endogenous Growth: Minimal Utility Level and Finite Life," Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting & Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 287-305.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal population size; Benthamite Vs Millian criterion; finite lives; optimal extinction;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis

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