Economics serving society

For a general audience

Q&A: Why human development metrics may have to shift

Devex Editor, April 2021

When it comes to measurements in any field, if you take the wrong indicator, you can have the wrong diagnosis of a situation and therefore take the wrong action, explained Marc Fleurbaey, researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and professor at the Paris School of Economics, formerly Princeton University... read more

Just allocation of COVID-19 vaccines

Editorial, BMJ Global Health 2021
Marc Fleurbaey & co-authors

Authorized COVID-19 vaccines must be distributed fairly. Several proposals have emerged offering guidelines for how to do this. However, insofar as the aim is to have the greatest health impact, these proposals fall short. We offer three suggestions to strengthen them... read more

The Planetary Wellbeing Initiative: Pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals in Higher Education

Sustainability 2021, Special Issue (In)Corporate Sustainability: A Systemic Shift towards Sustainability
Marc Fleurbaey & co-authors

We live in a time of pressing planetary challenges, many of which threaten catastrophic change to the natural environment and require massive and novel coordinated scientific and societal efforts on an unprecedented scale. Universities and other academic institutions have the opportunity and responsibility to assume a leading role in an era when the destiny of the planet is precisely in the hands of human beings... read more

Should we tax inheritances according to the age of the deceased?

PSE, May 2019, #5articles5minutes
Related Academic article: “Premature deaths, accidental bequests and fairness”
Marc Fleurbaey, Marie-Louise Leroux, Pierre Pestieau, Grégory Ponthière and Stéphane Zuber

What is a fair tax on inheritances? The article revisits this question, and particularly the optimal taxation of accidental inheritance, focusing on risk over a lifetime and inequalities in longevity among the population. In France, the 2015 mortality tables state that around 10% of men and 6% of women die before the age of 60... read more

How ethical choices shape policies in the context of climate risks?

PSE, July 2019, #5articles5minutes
Related Academic article: “Intergenerational equity under catastrophic climate change”
Marc Fleurbaey, Aurélie Méjean, Antonin Pottier and Stéphane Zuber

The most recent work in the climate sciences stresses the risk of abrupt and irreversible climate change that would endanger numerous species, including human beings. Such changes can be described as climate catastrophes. They are deeply uncertain, which makes it difficult to assess the probability of their occurring. They are, however, receiving growing attention from economists, especially those developing integrated economy–climate assessment models (IAMs), to study the interactions between the climatic system and the economy... read more

Fair Utilitarianism

PSE, April 2017, #5articles5minutes
Related Academic article: “Intergenerational equity under catastrophic climate change”
Marc Fleurbaey and Stéphane Zuber

Collectively, human groups face numerous risks, including the macroeconomic risks of recession and financial crisis, climatic risk, risk of epidemics, and the risks associated with the performance and the effects of new technologies. In this context, two kinds of questions arise: first, what is the group’s attitude to risk when its members have a greater or lesser propensity to withstand hazards? Second, how should risk be shared among group members? ... read more