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

  • Javier A. Birchenall
  • Rodrigo R. Soares

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12836.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12836.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
Publication status: published as Birchenall, Javier A. & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2009. "Altruism, fertility, and the value of children: Health policy evaluation and intergenerational welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 280-295, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12836
Note: HE
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  1. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2002. "Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 411-39, December.
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