Egalitarian Concerns and Population Change
in: Ole Frithjof Norheim (ed.) Measurement and Ethical Evaluation of Health Inequalities, Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931392.003.0007
We usually examine our considered intuitions regarding inequality, including health inequality, by comparing populations of the same size. Likewise, the standard measures of inequality and its badness have been developed on the basis of only such comparisons. Real world policies to mitigate inequalities, however, will most often also affect the size of a population. For example, many health policies are very likely to prevent deaths and affect procreation decisions. Hence, we need to consider how to extend measures of inequality to different number cases, that is, how to take into account the complication that population numbers are often not equal between the compared alternatives. Moreover, examining different number case is a fruitful way of probing our ideas about egalitarian concerns and will reveal as yet unnoticed complexities and problems in our current conceptualization of the value of equality, or so I’ll argue.