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Prevention against equality?

Author

Listed:
  • Marc Fleurbaey

    () (Princeton University)

  • Grégory Ponthière

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Fleurbaey & Grégory Ponthière, 2013. "Prevention against equality?," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00847260, HAL.
  • 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
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521715348, April.
    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.
    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. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1987:77:3:307-312_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ponthiere, Gregory, 2016. "Pollution, unequal lifetimes and fairness," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 49-64.
    2. Marie-Louise Leroux & Grégory Ponthiere, 2016. "Working Time Regulation, Unequal Lifetimes and Fairness," Cahiers de recherche 1611, Chaire de recherche Industrielle Alliance sur les enjeux économiques des changements démographiques.
    3. Grégory Ponthière, 2017. "Pollution, décès prématuré et compensation," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 68(1), pages 97-118.
    4. Ponthiere, Gregory, 2016. "Pollution, unequal lifetimes and fairness," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 49-64.
    5. Leroux, Marie-Louise & Pestieau, Pierre & Ponthière, Grégory, 2015. "Longévité différentielle et redistribution : enjeux théoriques et empiriques," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 91(4), pages 465-497, Décembre.
    6. Grégory Ponthière, 2014. "Pollution, Unequal Lifetimes and Fairness," Working Papers hal-01095463, HAL.
    7. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2014. "Longévité différentielle et redistribution : enjeux théoriques et empiriques," Working Papers halshs-01071723, HAL.
    8. Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthiere, 2012. "On the Policy Implications of Changing Longevity," CESifo Working Paper Series 3926, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Grégory Ponthière, 2014. "Pollution, décès prématuré et compensation," Working Papers hal-01095459, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Compensation; Equality; Longevity; Mortality; Prevention;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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