Life and Growth

47 Pages Posted: 31 May 2011

See all articles by Charles I. Jones

Charles I. Jones

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2011

Abstract

Some technologies save lives -- new vaccines, new surgical techniques, safer highways. Others threaten lives -- pollution, nuclear accidents, global warming, the rapid global transmission of disease, and bioengineered viruses. How is growth theory altered when technologies involve life and death instead of just higher consumption? This paper shows that taking life into account has first-order consequences. Under standard preferences, the value of life may rise faster than consumption, leading society to value safety over consumption growth. As a result, the optimal rate of consumption growth may be substantially lower than what is feasible, in some cases falling all the way to zero.

Suggested Citation

Jones, Charles I., Life and Growth (May 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17094. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1854196

Charles I. Jones (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

Stanford GSB
655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-4800
United States
650-725-9265 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~chadj

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
51
Abstract Views
469
rank
403,788
PlumX Metrics