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Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications

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  • Moshe Hazan

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that increased life expectancy had a key role in causing a rise in investment in human capital. I incorporate the retirement decision into a version of Ben-Porath's (1967) model and find that a necessary condition for this causal relationship to hold is that increased life expectancy will also increase lifetime labor supply. I then show that this condition does not hold for American men born between 1840 and 1970 and for the American population born between 1890 and 1970. The data suggest similar patterns in Western Europe. I end by discussing the implications of my findings for the debate on the fundamental causes of long-run growth. Copyright 2009 The Econometric Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 77 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 1829-1863

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:77:y:2009:i:6:p:1829-1863

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References

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  1. Ananth Seshadri & Rodolfo Manuelli, 2005. "Human Capital and the Wealth of Nations," 2005 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Das Human Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410003, EconWPA.
  3. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore, 2007. "A Theory of Retirement," PGDA Working Papers 2607, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  4. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred, 1992. "How Long Was the Workday in 1880?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 129-160, March.
  5. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2005. "Does Longevity Cause Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4931, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  7. Anupam Jena & Casey Mulligan & Tomas J. Philipson & Eric Sun, 2008. "The Value of Life in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 14157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Trend in Hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 11, Economie d'Avant Garde, revised Nov 2005.
  9. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
  10. Eric D. Gould, 2008. "Marriage and Career: The Dynamic Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 337-378.
  11. Moshe Hazan & Binyamin Berdugo, 2002. "Child Labour, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 810-828, October.
  12. Moav, Omer, 2001. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 3059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Dora L. Costa, 1998. "The Evolution of Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: The Evolution of Retirement: An American Economic History, 1880-1990, pages 6-31 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 580-601, June.
  15. Huberman, Michael & Minns, Chris, 2007. "The times they are not changin': Days and hours of work in Old and New Worlds, 1870-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 538-567, October.
  16. Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Death and Development," NBER Working Papers 11620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Robert A. Margo, 2001. "Part-Year Operation in Nineteenth Century American Manufacturing: Evidence from the 1870 and 1880 Censuses," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0106, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Mar 2001.
  18. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  19. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Race and Human Capital: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1221-24, December.
  20. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
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