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Egalitarism under Population Change: The Role of Growth and Lifetime Span

  • Raouf Boucekkine

    ()

    (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM) - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université, IRES-CORE - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Giorgio Fabbri

    ()

    (Dipartimento di Studi Economici S. Vinci - Università di Napoli Parthenope)

  • Fausto Gozzi

    ()

    (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali - Libera Università INTERNAZIONALE DEGLI STUDI SOCIALI G. CARLI)

We study the compatibility of the optimal population size concepts produced by different social welfare functions and egalitarism meant as "equal consumption for all individuals of all generations". Social welfare functions are parameterized by an altruism parameter generating the Benthamite and Millian criteria as polar cases. The economy considered is in continuous time and is populated by homogenous cohorts with a given life span. Production functions are linear in labor, (costly) procreation is the unique way to transfer resources forward in time. First, we show that egalitarism is optimal whatever the degree of altruism when life spans are infinite. That is egalitarism does not discriminate between the social welfare functions considered. However, when life spans are finite, egalitarism does not arise systematically as an optimal outcome. In particular, it depends on the degree of altruism, and also on the magnitude of the life span. In particular, to be enforced in a growing economy, that is when population growth is optimal in the long-run, this egalitarian rule can only hold when (i) the welfare function is Benthamite, (ii) and for a large enough life span. When altruism is impure, egalitarism is impossible in the context of a growing economy. Either in the Millian case, whatever the life span, or in the Benthamite/impure altruism cases, for small enough life spans, procreation is never optimal, leading to finite time extinction and maximal consumption for all existing individuals.

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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00793188
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  1. Holger Strulik, 2005. "The Role of Human Capital and Population Growth in R&D-based Models of Economic Growth," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 129-145, 02.
  2. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1982. "Population size and the social welfare functions of Bentham and Mill," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(1-2), pages 61-64.
  3. Geir B. Asheim, 2010. "Intergenerational Equity," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 197-222, 09.
  4. Licandro, Omar & Germain, Marc & Boucekkine, Raouf, 1996. "Replacement echoes in the vintage capital growth model," UC3M Working papers. Economics 4096, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  5. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Eduardo L. Gimenez & Mikel Perez-Nievas, 2006. "Millian Efficiency with Endogenous Fertility," Documentos de trabajo - Analise Economica 0037, IDEGA - Instituto Universitario de Estudios e Desenvolvemento de Galicia.
  6. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2000. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends and Endogenous Growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2000007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  7. Razin, Assaf & Yuen, Chi-Wa, 1995. "Utilitarian Tradeoff between Population Growth and Income Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 8(1), pages 81-87, February.
  8. Ravallion, M. & Datt, G., 1991. "Growth and Redistribution Components of Changes in Poverty Measures," Papers 83, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  9. Raouf Boucekkine & Omar Licandro & Luis A. Puch & Fernando del Rio, 2003. "Vintage capital and the dynamics of the AK model," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 0310, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
  10. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  11. Fabbri, Giorgio & Gozzi, Fausto, 2008. "Solving optimal growth models with vintage capital: The dynamic programming approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 331-373, November.
  12. Mikhail Golosov & Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2004. "Efficiency with endogenous population growth," Working Papers 630, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. R. Boucekkine & G. Fabbri & F. Gozzi, 2010. "Maintenance and investment: Complements or substitutes? A reappraisal," Post-Print hal-00743831, HAL.
  14. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  16. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2007. "The Neolithic Revolution and Contemporary Variations in Life Expectancy," Working Papers 2007-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  17. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri, 2013. "Assessing Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 751-767, April.
  18. Palivos, Theodore & Yip, Chong K., 1993. "Optimal population size and endogenous growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 107-110.
  19. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
  20. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:61:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Raouf Boucekkine & Giorgio Fabbri, 2010. "Assessing the Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion within a canonical endogenous growth set-up," Working Papers 2010_20, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  22. P. S. Dasgupta, 1969. "On the Concept of Optimum Population," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 295-318.
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