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"The Falling Sperm Counts Story": A Limit to Growth?

Johanna Etner (), Natacha Raffin () and Thomas Seegmuller ()

No 1625, AMSE Working Papers from Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France

Abstract: We develop an overlapping generations model of growth, in which agents differ through their ability to procreate. Based on epidemiological evidence, we assume that pollution is a cause of this health heterogeneity, affecting sperm quality. Nevertheless, agents with impaired fertility may incur health treatments in order to increase their chances of parenthood. In this set-up, we analyse the dynamic behaviour of the economy and characterise the situation reached in the long run. Then, we determine the optimal solution that prevails when a social planner maximises a Millian utilitarian criterion and propose a set of available economic instruments to decentralise the optimal solution. We underscore that to correct for both the externalities of pollution and the induced-health inefficiency, it is necessary to tax physical capital while it requires to overall subsidy mostly harmed agents within the economy. Hence, we argue that fighting against the sources of an altered reproductive health is more relevant than directly inciting agents to incur health treatments.

Keywords: Pollution; Growth; Fertility; Health. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O44 Q56 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2016-07-04, Revised 2016-07-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dge, nep-env, nep-gro and nep-hea
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