EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Optimal lockdown and social welfare

Pierre Pestieau () and Gregory Ponthiere ()

Journal of Population Economics, 2022, vol. 35, issue 1, No 7, 268 pages

Abstract: Abstract This paper examines the robustness of the optimal lockdown strategy to the postulated social welfare criterion. We show that utilitarianism can, under some conditions, imply a COVID-19 variant of Parfit’s (1984) Repugnant Conclusion: for any (interior) lockdown with life periods of low quality, there must be a stricter lockdown that is regarded as better, even though this reduces the quality of life periods even more. On the contrary, the ex post egalitarian criterion (giving priority to the worst-off ex post) implies zero lockdown. Varying between its minimal and its maximal levels, the optimal lockdown is not robust to the postulated ethical criterion. We also identify a general ethical dilemma between the goal of saving lives (modeled by the Survivors Number Count axiom) and the goal of giving priority to the worst-off (Hammond Equity).

Keywords: COVID-19; Lockdown; Social welfare; Utilitarianism; Egalitarianism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 I31 J18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s00148-021-00867-w Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
Working Paper: Optimal lockdown and social welfare (2021)
Working Paper: Optimal Lockdown and Social Welfare (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Optimal Lockdown and Social Welfare (2020) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:35:y:2022:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-021-00867-w

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... tion/journal/148/PS2

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-021-00867-w

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Population Economics is currently edited by K.F. Zimmermann

More articles in Journal of Population Economics from Springer, European Society for Population Economics Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

 
Page updated 2022-09-25
Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:35:y:2022:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-021-00867-w