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Compensating the dead? Yes we can!

  • Marc Fleurbaey

    ()

    (CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, CERSES - Centre de recherche sens, ethique, société - CNRS - UPD5 - Université Paris Descartes - Paris 5, LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science - LSE, IDEP - Institut d'économie publique - IDEP, IEP Paris - Sciences Po Paris - Institut d'études politiques de Paris)

  • Marie-Louise Leroux

    (CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)

An early death is, undoubtedly, a serious disadvantage. However, the compensation of short-lived individuals has remained so far largely unexplored, probably because it appears infeasible. Indeed, short-lived agents can hardly be identified ex ante, and cannot be compensated ex post. We argue that, despite the above difficulties, a compensation can be carried out by encouraging early consumption in the life cycle. In a model with heterogeneous preferences and longevities, we show how a specific social criterion can be derived from intuitive principles, and we study the corresponding optimal policy under various informational assumptions. We also study the robustness of our solution to alternative types of preferences and savings policies.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00564934.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00564934
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