Working Paper
Population Ethics and the Value of Life

Public policies often involve choices of alternatives in which the size and the composition of the population may vary. Examples are the allocation of resources to prenatal care and the design of aid packages to developing countries. In order to assess the corresponding feasible choices on normative grounds, criteria for social evaluation that are capable of performing variable-population comparisons are required. We review several important axioms for welfarist population principles and discuss the link between individual well-being and the desirability of adding a new person to a given society.