, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 411–418 | Cite as

What difference would it make if cancer were eradicated? An examination of the taeuber paradox

  • Nathan Keyfitz


The immediate effect of discovering a way to cure cancer would be a reduction in the number of deaths in the United States by the number of people now dying from that cause. Within a short time, however, deaths from other causes would increase, and the net long-term effect would be relatively small. A parameter is derived that measures how much the expectation of life is increased by a marginal reduction in any cause of death. That parameter is additive in the several causes and has other advantages, though it does not avoid the assumption of independence.


Influenza Life Table Crude Death Rate Percent Improvement Stationary Death Rate 
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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan Keyfitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Population StudiesHarvard UniversityCambridge

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