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Compensating the Dead? Yes we can!




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, 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Fleurbaey & Marie-Louise Leroux & Grégory Ponthière, 2010. "Compensating the Dead? Yes we can!," IDEP Working Papers 1005, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised 20 Oct 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:iep:wpidep:1005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

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    1. How to compensate the short-lived
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-23 21:31:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Delprat, G. & Leroux, M.-L. & Michaud, P.-C., 2016. "Evidence on individual preferences for longevity risk," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 160-179, April.
    2. repec:hal:psewpa:halshs-00746913 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gregory Ponthiere, 2013. "Fair Accumulation under Risky Lifetime," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(2), pages 210-230, May.
    4. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00746913 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Compensation; Longevity; Mortality; Fairness; Redistribution.;

    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
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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