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Life Quantity, Life Quality and Longevity : an Intertemporal Social Evaluation framework

  • Jean-Yves Duclos
  • Bouba Housseini

The evaluation of development processes and of public policies often involves comparisons of social states in which populations differ in size and longevity. This requires social evaluation principles to be sensitive to both the number and the length of lives. This paper explores the use of axiomatic and welfarist principles to assess social welfare in that framework. It attempts to overcome some of the limits of existing methods in the literature, in particular by avoiding a temporal repugnant conclusion, by neither penalizing nor favoring life fragmentation, and by satisfying critical-level temporal consistency. It does this by characterizing a critical-level lifetime utility function that values life periodically. To address some of the controversies on discounting utilities across time, two alternative versions of the function are developed, one with discounting and one without.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1315.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1315
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  1. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, December.
  2. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Zandvakili, Sourushe, 1986. "A class of generalized measures of mobility with applications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 97-102.
  3. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-20, November.
  4. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2014. "Optimal Aging And Death: Understanding The Preston Curve," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 672-701, 06.
  5. Ehrlich, Isaac & Chuma, Hiroyuki, 1990. "A Model of the Demand for Longevity and the Value of Life Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 761-82, August.
  6. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
  7. Salas, Rafael & Rabadan, Isabel, 1998. "Lifetime and Vertical Intertemporal Inequality, Income Smoothing, and Redistribution: A Social Welfare Approach," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(1), pages 63-79, March.
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