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Long-run trends of human aging and longevity

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  • Holger Strulik

    ()

  • Sebastian Vollmer

    ()

Abstract

Over the last 200 years, humans experienced a huge increase of life expectancy. These advances were largely driven by extrinsic improvements of their environment (for example, the available diet, disease prevalence, vaccination, and the state of hygiene and sanitation). In this paper, we ask whether future improvements of life expectancy will be bounded from above by human life span. Life span, in contrast to life expectancy, is conceptualized as a biological measure of longevity driven by the intrinsic rate of bodily deterioration. In order to pursue our question, we first present a modern theory of aging developed by bio-gerontologists and show that immutable life span would put an upper limit on life expectancy. We then show for a sample of developed countries that human life span thus defined was indeed constant until the mid-twentieth century but increased since then in sync with life expectancy. In other words, we find evidence for manufactured life span. Copyright The Author(s) 2013

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 1303-1323

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:26:y:2013:i:4:p:1303-1323

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Related research

Keywords: Human life span; Life expectancy; Aging; Compression of morbidity; Life-span extension; O11; I12; J13;

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References

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  1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore, 2007. "A Theory of Retirement," PGDA Working Papers 2607, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
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  9. 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.
  10. Ben J. Heijdra & Ward E. Romp, 2008. "A life-cycle overlapping-generations model of the small open economy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 88-121, January.
  11. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
  12. 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.
  13. Robert Fogel & Dora Costa, 1997. "A theory of technophysio evolution, with some implications for forecasting population, health care costs, and pension costs," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 49-66, February.
  14. Gary D. Hansen & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2006. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle: The Role of Annuities," NBER Working Papers 12341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Health and Education: Understanding the Gradient," Diskussionspapiere der Wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Leibniz Universität Hannover dp-487, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  16. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
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  18. Hui Zheng & Yang Yang & Kenneth Land, 2011. "Heterogeneity in the Strehler-Mildvan General Theory of Mortality and Aging," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 267-290, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2013. "Life Expectancy, Schooling, and Lifetime Labor Supply: Theory and Evidence Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 9399, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Omar Licandro & David de la Croix, 2013. "The Longevity of Famous People from Hammurabi to Einstein," 2013 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Strulik, Holger, 2013. "Optimal aging with uncertain death," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 160, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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