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

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  • Javier A. Birchenall
  • Rodrigo R. Soares

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 "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

  • Javier A. Birchenall & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2007. "Altruism, Fertility, and the Value of Children: Health Policy Evaluation and Intergenerational Welfare," NBER Working Papers 12836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12836 Note: HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Córdoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2013. "What explains schooling differences across countries?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 184-202.
    2. Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2014. "The Elasticity of Intergenerational Substitution, Parental Altruism, and Fertility Choice," Staff General Research Papers Archive 37766, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Martine AUDIBERT, 2009. "Issues and Challenges of Measurement of Health:Implications for Economic Research," Working Papers 200922, CERDI.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Marla Ripoll & Juan Carlos Cordoba, 2011. "A Contribution to the Economic Theory of Fertility," 2011 Meeting Papers 1207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Juan Cordoba, 2012. "Children and the Wealth of Nations," 2012 Meeting Papers 1052, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Atolia, Manoj & Papageorgiou, Chris & Turnovsky, Stephen, 2017. "Private and Public Health Investment Decisions," MPRA Paper 79842, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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