Title

Parental Altruism and the Value of Avoiding Acute Illness: Are Kids Worth More Than Parents?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2004

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

A model describing parents' preferences to relieve their own and their children's acute illnesses is estimated using stated-preference data. Estimated marginal rates of substitution (MRS) between child and parent illness are about two, indicating that parents value children's illness attributes twice as highly as their own. The MRS is larger for younger children, falls toward unity as the child approaches adulthood, and appears to reflect parental altruism rather than parent-child differences in initial health or illness costs. Intra-family allocations may compensate for chronic health impairments. Parents' willingness to pay to avoid own or child illness increases with income, declines with fertility, increases at a decreasing rate with duration and number of symptoms, and depends on perceived discomfort and activity restrictions. Current methods of assessing morbidity benefits of environmental regulations may understate substantially the value of children's health, particularly in African-American families. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

Volume

48

Issue

3

First Page

1146

Last Page

1174