Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 January 2018
How much should society invest in medical care that extends the lives of the older generations? We derive a golden rule for the level of health care expenditures and find that the optimal level of life-extending health care expenditures should increase with rising productivity, increase with the retirement age, and also increase with the population growth rate if a higher growth rate lowers the ratio of retirees to working-age people sufficiently, while the effects of an improvement in medical technology are ambiguous. Moreover, we find that a market economy may be inefficient in terms of the provision of life-extending health care because an individual ignores the effect of his own longevity on the income of others.
We are much indebted to two referees whose constructive comments helped us improve the paper.