Altruism, Fertility, and the Value of Children: Health Policy Evaluation and Intergenerational Welfare
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.
Previous versions of this paper circulated under the title "Fertility and the Value of Life." We owe special thanks to Maureen Cropper for important suggestions. We also benefited from comments from Ted Bergstrom, Roger Betancourt, Kevin Frick, Robin Jenkins, Michael Manove, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, Seth Sanders, and seminar participants at EPGE-FGV, PUC-Rio, Universidad Nacional (Bogota), University of Maryland, USP, and the 2006 Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (Mexico City). Soares gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Tecnologico (CNPq), Brazil. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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. citation courtesy of