I view dying young as an enormous tragedy. It would be so, so, so, bad. As the economist would say, it would not equate marginal utilities of money across different world-states. It is also very hard to insure against premature death. The life insurance payment would help my family but it doesn’t go to poor, lil’ dead ol’ me.
Given the imperfection of post-death markets, what else can I do? Er…I can spend money now. If I die soon, I had bigger kicks today. That is a kind of partial compensation for the tragedy; admittedly I run a greater risk of outliving my remaining savings. (Quick micro quiz: Do bloggers, by offering free fun outputs, raise or lower the savings rate?)
Can we find a testable prediction? Religious people should save a greater fraction of their incomes.
I don’t hold the view that religious people should be indifferent to death; presumably they think they are on earth to fulfill God’s plan. But they should have fewer purely selfish reasons to fear death. (Good religious people, that is, or at least those who think they are good.) A weaker selfish fear of death means less need to buy insurance against premature death. The devout should spend less money now.
Last night we ate at Zengo’s — Latin-Asian fusion — which was excellent. Get the hamachi, the empanadas, the ribs, and the arepas.