IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Economic Aspects of Human Cloning and Reprogenetics

Listed author(s):
  • Saint-Paul, Gilles

While most discussions of human cloning start and end with ethics, this paper analyses the economics of human cloning. I analyse the incentives for cloning and its implications for the long-run distribution of skills and income. I discuss models of human cloning for different motives, focusing on those that tend to produce new human beings with improved ability. I distinguish three cases: cloning as a means of assisted reproduction for infertile couples, cloning by fertile couples aimed at producing high ability offspring and, finally, financially motivated cloning. The third case supposes that the creator of a clone can appropriate some fraction of the clone's future income. Even if this fraction is small, the possibility of producing exceptionally talented clones with correspondingly high incomes might make it profitable, and thus turn cloning into a form of financial investment. An important consequence of these models is that to the extent that ability is genetically determined and cloners prefer to make high-ability clones, cloning will act as a form of what might be called 'unnatural selection'. Following standard Darwinian logic, such selection will tend to increase the proportion of high ability people in society. Indeed, under some assumptions the distribution of ability eventually converges to a mass point at the highest possible ability level. Under weaker assumptions, it is shown that ability-reducing genes are eventually eliminated. These results do not depend on cloning displacing sexual reproduction or even being widespread; they hold even if a small, or even negligible number of top ability workers are cloned at a small (but not negligible) number of copies. The paper discusses the plausibility of the models and their results in light on the evidence on marriage markets, child selection, human assisted reproduction and animal husbandry. Finally, it is shown how the analysis can be used to help formulate policies toward cloning, whether they aim at p

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
File Function: Abstract
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 157.

in new window

Date of creation: 2002
Publication status: Published in Economic Policy, avril 2003, p. 73-122.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:651
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Manufacture des Tabacs, Aile Jean-Jacques Laffont, 21 Allée de Brienne, 31000 TOULOUSE

Phone: +33 (0)5 61 12 85 89
Fax: + 33 (0)5 61 12 86 37
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Dhuyvetter, Kevin C. & Schroeder, Ted C. & Simms, Danny D. & Bolze, Ronald P., Jr. & Geske, Jeremy, 1996. "Determinants Of Purebred Beef Bull Price Differentials," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 21(02), December.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, "undated". "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:651. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.