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

Author

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  • Birchenall, Javier A.

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Soares, Rodrigo R.

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Birchenall, Javier A. & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2007. "Altruism, Fertility, and the Value of Children: Health Policy Evaluation and Intergenerational Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 2783, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2783
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Cerqueira & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2016. "The Welfare Cost of Homicides in Brazil: Accounting for Heterogeneity in the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Reductions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 259-276, March.
    2. Córdoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2013. "What explains schooling differences across countries?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 184-202.
    3. Juan Carlos Córdoba & Marla Ripoll, 2019. "The Elasticity of Intergenerational Substitution, Parental Altruism, and Fertility Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(5), pages 1935-1972.
    4. Marla Ripoll & Juan Carlos Cordoba, 2011. "A Contribution to the Economic Theory of Fertility," 2011 Meeting Papers 1207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Michael Kuhn & Alexia Prskawetz & Uwe Sunde, 2014. "Health, education, and retirement over the prolonged life cycle: a selective survey of recent research," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22.
    6. Martine AUDIBERT, 2009. "Issues and Challenges of Measurement of Health:Implications for Economic Research," Working Papers 200922, CERDI.
    7. Cordoba, Juan Carlos, 2012. "Children and the wealth of nations," ISU General Staff Papers 201210140700001080, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    8. MariÌ a Elvira Guerra-CuÌ jar & Mounu Prem & Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes & Juan F. Vargas, 2020. "The Peace Baby Boom: Evidence from Colombia’s peace agreement with the FARC," Documentos de Trabajo LACEA 018485, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA.
    9. Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan & Prskawetz, Alexia & Feichtinger, Gustav, 2015. "Optimal choice of health and retirement in a life-cycle model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PA), pages 186-212.
    10. Wilson, Nicholas, 2018. "Altruism in preventive health behavior: At-scale evidence from the HIV/AIDS pandemic," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 119-129.
    11. Atolia, Manoj & Papageorgiou, Chris & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2021. "Re-opening after the lockdown: Long-run aggregate and distributional consequences of COVID-19," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C).
    12. Atolia, Manoj & Papageorgiou, Chris & Turnovsky, Stephen, 2017. "Private and Public Health Investment Decisions," MPRA Paper 79842, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan & Prskawetz, Alexia & Feichtinger, Gustav, 2011. "Externalities in a life cycle model with endogenous survival," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 627-641.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational welfare; altruism; fertility; mortality; value of life; willingness to pay;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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