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The Value of Living

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  • John BROOME

    (University of Bristol)

Abstract

Many practical decisions, in medicine and elsewhere, alter the lengths of people's lives; many affect the number of people who are born; and many do both. Decision makers need to attach a value to changes of these sorts. In the past the value of prolonging life and the value of changes in population have generally been treated separately. This paper explains the need for an integrated treatment: a theory of the value of living. In one sense, prolonging a life and bringing into existence an extra person are alternative ways of doing the same thing: both bring it about that a period of life is lived that otherwise would not have been lived. But there is also a vital difference: in one case the extra period of life comes to someone who exists already; in the other it comes to a new person. The paper discusses a number of principles that might be used in developing an integrated theory of the value of living

Suggested Citation

  • John BROOME, 1992. "The Value of Living," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1992021, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvre:1992021
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    File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40723983
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    Cited by:

    1. John COCKBURN & Jean-Yves DUCLOS & Agnès ZABSONRÉ, 2011. "Is the value of humanity increasing? A critical-level enquiry," Working Papers I13, FERDI.
    2. Cockburn, John & Duclos, Jean-Yves & Zabsonré, Agnès, 2014. "Is global social welfare increasing? A critical-level enquiry," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 151-162.
    3. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1996. "Leximin population ethics," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 115-131, April.
    4. Robinson, James A. & Srinivasan, T.N., 1993. "Long-term consequences of population growth: Technological change, natural resources, and the environment," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1175-1298 Elsevier.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1997. "Birth-Date Dependent Population Ethics: Critical-Level Principles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 260-284, December.
    6. Baland, Jean-Marie & Robinson, James A., 2002. "Rotten parents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 341-356, June.
      • Baland, J.M. & Robinson, J.A., 1998. "Rotten Parents," Papers 207, Notre-Dame de la Paix, Sciences Economiques et Sociales.
    7. Barrientos, Armando & Gorman, Mark & Heslop, Amanda, 2003. "Old Age Poverty in Developing Countries: Contributions and Dependence in Later Life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 555-570, March.
    8. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1999. "Foreign aid and population policy: some ethical considerations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 203-232, August.
    9. Claudio Zoli, 2009. "Variable population welfare and poverty orderings satisfying replication properties," Working Papers 69/2009, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    10. 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.

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