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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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  1. 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.
  2. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2005. "Does Longevity Cause Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4931, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. 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.
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