The meaning of death: some numerical simulations of a model of healthy and unhealthy consumption
This paper presents some numerical simulations of a model of healthy and unhealthy consumption to investigate the impact of various terminal conditions on an individual's life-span, pathways of consumption and health. A `benchmark' model, in which both the life-span and the individual's `death' stock of health are xed, is compared to (i) a version in which the `death' stock of health is freely chosen; (ii) a version in which life-span is freely chosen; (iii) a version in which both the `death' stock of health and life-span are freely chosen. Results show how the choice of terminal conditions has a striking impact on both optimal plans and comparative static/dynamic predictions and raise questions about how to model `death' in deterministic demand for health models. Results also illustrate the application of iterative processes to determine an optimal life-span in continuous time models, the role of the marginal value of health capital in determining optimal plans, and the importance of checking the second-order conditions for the optimal choice of life-span in such models.
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