From the “Value of Life” to the Economics and Ethics of Population: the Path is Purely Methodological
No 1992022, Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) from Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)
The paper discusses the relationship between two problems, namely: (i) assigning a value to reduction in death probabilities, i.e. defining a «value of life», and (ii) assigning a value to changes in pop- ulation, i.e. defining guidelines for the ethics and economics of pop- ulation. While, for Broome, "in one sense, prolonging a person's life and adding a new person to the world are alternative ways of doing the same things", this paper argues that the two problems are quite distinct, in the sense that a precise answer to the first provides no guide live at all for second, and conversely. There is no inconsinstency in providing safety according to a high "value of life" while giving pop- ulation growth a negative value. But there is a methodological link: both problèmes have a public choice dimension, and can therefore be approached along parallel methodological lines. With respect to the economics and ethics of population, the paper oners some defense of the Pareto criterion among the living, and comments on the practice and theory of social choise.
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ctl:louvre:1992022
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