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

34 Pages Posted: 17 May 2007

See all articles by Javier Arturo Birchenall

Javier Arturo Birchenall

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

Rodrigo R. Soares

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA); Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: May 2007

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.

Keywords: value of life, mortality, fertility, altruism, intergenerational welfare, willingness to pay

JEL Classification: J17, J13, I10

Suggested Citation

Birchenall, Javier Arturo and Soares, Rodrigo R., Altruism, Fertility, and the Value of Children: Health Policy Evaluation and Intergenerational Welfare (May 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2783, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=987031

Javier Arturo Birchenall

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Rodrigo R. Soares (Contact Author)

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

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New York, NY 10027
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Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

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Brazil

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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