Re: AltInst: Tradable birth quotas

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Wed Aug 05 1998 - 14:28:48 PDT

Damien S. responds to Hal F. responding to K. K. Fung:

>> > The fixed annual birth quotas
>> > can be initially allocated to families with deaths according
>> > to a variable births/deaths conversion ratio. These tradable
>> That's a funny idea. "How you feelin', gramps? You know we can't have
>> any kids until you're dead. Don't want to rush you or anything..."
>Well, the family could buy a quote, and later resell gramps. But how are
>'families' defined?

[[I'll use moderator's privilege, and clarify my post. The family could buy a
_permit_, and later resell the one they get from gramps. If they don't have
the cash they could get a loan using gramps as collateral... I don't know
where 'quote' came from. -- Damien R. S.]]

The simplest approach would be to have the property right be part of gramps'
estate, allocated according to his will. The moral hazard risks here are
similar to those of any other property disposed in a will. If gramps wanted
to minimize those risks further, he could sell his property right to a third

>I suspect the paper avoids the practical problem of enforcement, of what you
>do with an unpermitted pregnancy, or birth. Heavy fine?

The market price for permits sets an obvious fine amount, which one might
correct for the probability of detection.

>> All in all this hits so many hot buttons that I can't see it working in

But it could still be worth thinking about.

[[ Of course. I was simply including an example of someone whose buttons got
pressed. Actually I could see something like it working in practice, or at
least being tried. But I could see people getting upset. People don't
actually like markets. -- DRS ]]

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627

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Received on Wed Aug 5 21:30:01 1998

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