Compensating the Dead

39 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2011

See all articles by Marc Fleurbaey

Marc Fleurbaey

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

M.‐L. Leroux

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM)

Gregory Ponthiere

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Date Written: December 5, 2011

Abstract

An early death is, undoubtedly, a serious disadvantage. However, the compensation of short-lived individuals has remained so far largely unexplored, probably because it appears infeasible. Indeed, short-lived agents can hardly be identified ex ante, and cannot be compensated ex post. We argue that, despite those difficulties, a compensation can be carried out by encouraging early consumption in the life cycle. In a model with heterogeneous preferences and longevity, we show how a specific social criterion can be derived from intuitive principles, and we study the corresponding optimal policy under various informational assumptions.

Keywords: Compensation, Longevity, Mortality, Fairness, Redistribution

JEL Classification: D63, D71, I18, J18

Suggested Citation

Fleurbaey, Marc and Leroux, Marie-Louise and Ponthiere, Gregory, Compensating the Dead (December 5, 2011). Economic Theory Center Working Paper No. 28-2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1969441 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1969441

Marc Fleurbaey (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Marie-Louise Leroux

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) ( email )

PB 8888 Station DownTown
Succursale Centre Ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C3P8
Canada

Gregory Ponthiere

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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