Rawlsian optimal population size

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In this paper, I examine the implications of the Rawlsian maximin criterion for optimal population size and intergenerational allocation of resource when fertility is endogenous. I show that whenever children are better-off than their parents in laissez-faire, then the size of the population and parental bequests are also optimal according to the Rawlsian criterion. Otherwise, laissez-faire leads to overpopulation and suboptimal bequests. I then show that by using proper price-based corrective policies, society can achieve a Rawlsian optimal allocation. These policies involve either a combination of a subsidy to aggregate future consumption and a per-capita tax on children, or a subsidy to average future consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-373
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Population Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1993
Externally publishedYes


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