“The Falling Sperm Counts Story”: A Limit to Growth?

from Health Economics at http://bit.ly/2aGVhzb on July 30, 2016 at 02:10PM

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.