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Prevention against equality?

Listed author(s):
  • Marc Fleurbaey

    ()

    (Princeton University [Pinceton])

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Common sense supports prevention policies aimed at improving survival prospects among the population. It is also widely acknowledged that an early death is a serious disadvantage, and that attention should be paid to the compensation of short-lived individuals. This paper re-examines the compatibility of those two concerns: prevention against early death and compensation for early death. We show that, under mild conditions, no social ordering on allocations can satisfy a concern for prevention and a concern for compensation. The reason is that if it is socially desirable to raise the number of survivors through prevention, it must also be, under costly prevention, desirable to deteriorate the living standards of the short-lived. We then explore two approaches to the prevention/compensation dilemma, and study the associated optimal allocation of resources.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" with number halshs-00847260.

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Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, 2013, 103, pp.68-84. <10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.03.008>
Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-00847260
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.03.008
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00847260
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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  1. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521715348, 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. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody, 1996. "Employment, unemployment, and problem drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 409-434, August.
  4. Balia, Silvia & Jones, Andrew M., 2008. "Mortality, lifestyle and socio-economic status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-26, January.
  5. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2012. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199653591, April.
  6. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
  7. Fleurbaey, Marc & Leroux, Marie-Louise & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2014. "Compensating the dead," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 28-41.
  8. Elisha A. Pazner & David Schmeidler, 1978. "Egalitarian Equivalent Allocations: A New Concept of Economic Equity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 671-687.
  9. Mullahy, John & Portney, Paul R., 1990. "Air pollution, cigarette smoking, and the production of respiratory health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 193-205, September.
  10. Easterlin, Richard A., 1999. "How beneficent is the market? A look at the modern history of mortality," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 257-294, December.
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