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Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Simon Johnson

Abstract

We exploit the major international health improvements from the 1940s to estimate the effect of life expectancy on economic performance. We construct predicted mortality using preintervention mortality rates from various diseases and dates of global interventions. Predicted mortality has a large impact on changes in life expectancy starting in 1940 but no effect before 1940. Using predicted mortality as an instrument, we find that a 1 percent increase in life expectancy leads to a 1.7-2 percent increase in population. Life expectancy has a much smaller effect on total GDP, however. Consequently, there is no evidence that the large increase in life expectancy raised income per capita. (c) 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 115 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 925-985

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:115:y:2007:i:6:p:925-985

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  1. Fogel,Robert William, 2004. "The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521808781, November.
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  12. Felicia Marie Knaul & Edmundo Murrugarra & Carlos Hernández Alvarez & Rafael Cortez & William D. Savedoff & Jaime Espinosa Ferrando & Rocío Ribero Medina & Martín Valdivia & T. Paul Schultz & Jairo, . "Wealth from Health: Linking Social Investments to Earnings in Latin America," IDB Publications 42218, Inter-American Development Bank.
  13. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, 2012. "AIDS, “reversal” of the demographic transition and economic development: evidence from Africa," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 871-897, July.
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  1. Health, growth and small samples
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-06-29 14:48:00
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