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Miller et al. find benefits of Medicaid for pregnant mothers in 1980s carry over two generations

Starr's findings account for some of the 19% black-white gap in federal sentencing

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Bailey et al. find higher incomes among children whose parents had access to federal family planning programs in the 1960s and 70s

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Mon, Jan 22, 2018, noon: Narayan Sastry

Denial of Death and Economic Behavior

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Kopczuk, Wojciech, and Joel Slemrod. 2005. "Denial of Death and Economic Behavior." Advances in Theoretical Economics, 5(1).

We model denial of death and its effect on economic behavior. Attempts to reduce death anxiety and the possibility of denial of mortality-relevant information interact with intertemporal choices and may lead to time-inconsistent behavior and other “behavioral” phenomena. In the model, repression of signals of mortality leads to underconsumption for unsophisticated individuals, but forward-sophisticated individuals may over-consume in anticipation of future denial and may seek ways to commit to act according to one’s mortality prospects as currently perceived. We show that the mere possibility of engaging in this kind of denial leads to time-inconsistent but efficient behavior. Refusal to face up to the reality of death may help explain a wide range of empirical phenomena, including the underutilization of tax-advanced inter vivos gifts and inadequate purchase of life insurance.

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