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Altruism, Fertility, and the Value of Children: Health Policy Evaluation and Intergenerational Welfare

  • Birchenall, Javier A.

    ()

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Soares, Rodrigo R.

    ()

    (Sao Paulo School of Economics)

This paper accounts for the value of children and future generations in the evaluation of health policies. This is achieved through the incorporation of altruism and fertility in a “value of life” type of framework. We are able to express adults’ willingness to pay for changes in child mortality and also to incorporate the welfare of future generations in the evaluation of current policies. Our model clarifies a series of puzzles from the literature on the “value of life” and on intergenerational welfare comparisons. We show that, by incorporating altruism and fertility into the analysis, the estimated welfare gain from recent reductions in mortality in the U.S. easily doubles.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2783.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2009, 93 (1-2), 280-295
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2783
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