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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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  1. 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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  3. 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.
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  5. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, . "vintage human capital, demographic trends and endogenous growth," Working Papers 2000-02, FEDEA.
  6. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Health and Education: Understanding the Gradient," Diskussionspapiere der Wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Leibniz Universität Hannover dp-487, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
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  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. Neil Bruce & Stephen J. Turnovsky, 2009. "Demography and Growth: A Unified Treatment of Overlapping Generations," Working Papers UWEC-2009-21-R, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2011.
  15. John Wilmoth & Shiro Horiuchi, 1999. "Rectangularization revisited: Variability of age at death within human populations," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 475-495, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Omar Licandro & David de la Croix, 2013. "The Longevity of Famous People from Hammurabi to Einstein," 2013 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. 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.
  3. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2013. "Life Expectancy, Schooling, and Lifetime Labor Supply: Theory and Evidence Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(5), pages 2055-2086, 09.

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