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Rotten Parents

  • Baland, J.M.
  • Robinson, J.A.

The autors study the implications of the trade-off between child quality and child quantity for the efficiency of the rate of population growth. They show that if quantity and quality are inversely related then, even in the case of full altruism within the family, population growth is inefficiently high, if the family does not have, or does not choose to use, compensating instruments (for example, bequests are at a corner). In non-altruistic models this trade-off certaibly generates a population problem. The authors therefore prove that the repugnant conclusion is not only repugnant, it may be inefficient. However, we cannot expect intra-family contracting to resolve the inefficiency since it involves contracts which are not credible.

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Paper provided by Notre-Dame de la Paix, Sciences Economiques et Sociales in its series Papers with number 207.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:nodapa:207
Contact details of provider: Postal: FACULTE UNIVERSITAIRE NOTRE-DAME DE LA PAIX, FACULTE DES SCIENCES ECONOMIQUES ET SOCIALES, RUE DE BRUXELLES NAMUR FRANCE.
Phone: ++32/(0)81/72.48.53
Fax: ++32/(0)81/72.48.40
Web page: http://www.fundp.ac.be/facultes/eco/

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  1. Kimball, Miles S., 1987. "Making sense of two-sided altruism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-326, September.
  2. Partha Dasgupta, 1995. "The Population Problem: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1879-1902, December.
  3. Marc Nerlove & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1988. "A Bequest-Constrained Economy: Welfare Analysis," NBER Working Papers 2779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Laitner & F. Thomas Juster, 1993. "New evidence on altruism: a study of TIAA-CREF retirees," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 86, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
  6. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-59, October.
  7. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  8. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-59, October.
  9. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  11. 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).
  12. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, . "The Family and the State," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  13. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Testing the Quantity-Quality Fertility Model: The Use of Twins as a Natural Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 227-40, January.
  15. Zhang, Junsen & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1993. "The old-age security hypothesis revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 191-202, June.
  16. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
  18. Neher, Philip A, 1971. "Peasants, Procreation, and Pensions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 380-89, June.
  19. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
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