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Population Policy through Tradable Procreation Entitlements

  • David de la Croix


    (Department of Economics and CORE, Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Axel Gosseries


    (FNRS & Hoover Chair, Université Catholique de Louvain)

Tradable permits are now widely used to control pollution. We investigate the implications of setting up such a system in another area – population control –, either domestically or at the global level. We first generalize the framework with both tradable procreation allowances and tradable procreation exemptions, in order to tackle both over- and under-population problems. The implications of procreation rights for income inequality and education are contrasted. We decompose the scheme’s impact on redistribution into three effects, one of them, the tradability effect, entails the following: with procreation exemptions or expensive enough procreation allowances, redistribution benefits the poor. In contrast, cheap procreation allowances redistribute resources to the rich. As far as human capital is concerned, natalist policy worsens the average education level of the next generation, while population control enhances it. If procreation rights are granted to countries in proportion to existing fertility levels (grandfathering) instead of being allocated equally, population control can be made even more redistributive. Our exploratory analysis suggests that procreation entitlements offer a promising tool to control population without necessarily leading to problematic distributive impact, especially at the global level.

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Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 62.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2007-62
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  1. Michael Kremer & Daniel Chen, 2000. "Income-distribution Dynamics with Endogenous Fertility," NBER Working Papers 7530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mikhail Golosov & Larry E Jones & Michèle Tertilt, 2003. "Effciency with Endogenous Population Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 666156000000000310, David K. Levine.
  3. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard & Bailey, Elizabeth M, 1998. "The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 669-85, September.
  4. Bohringer, Christoph & Lange, Andreas, 2005. "On the design of optimal grandfathering schemes for emission allowances," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2041-2055, November.
  5. Philippe Michel & Bertrand Wigniolle, 2007. "On Efficient Child Making," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00185259, HAL.
  6. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
  7. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, July.
  8. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Susan Greenhalgh, 2003. "Science, Modernity, and the Making of China's One-Child Policy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(2), pages 163-196.
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