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The Rise of Life Expectancy and Economic Growth in the 20th Century

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Author Info

  • Hansen, Casper Worm

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Business)

  • Lønstrup, Lars

    ()
    (Department of Business and Economics)

Abstract

This study documents that the growth in life expectancy over the 20th century decreased per capita GDP growth and increased population growth. By exploiting significant advances in medical technologies, starting to diffuse in the 1940s, the analysis establishes that countries with higher levels of infectious-disease mortality prior to the medical breakthrough experienced higher growth rates in life expectancy and population size, and lower growth rates in per capita GDP in the time after the medical breakthroughs. These findings are robust to the inclusion of initial life expectancy and initial GDP per capita. The evidence presented here therefore complements the conclusions inferred in the research by Acemoglu and Johnson (2007).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark in its series Discussion Papers of Business and Economics with number 16/2013.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 16 Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2013_016

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark
Phone: 65 50 32 33
Fax: 65 50 32 37
Email:
Web page: http://www.sdu.dk/ivoe
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Keywords: Life expectancy; health shock; long-run economic growth;

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References

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  1. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Disease and development: The role of life expectancy reconsidered," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 113(3), pages 269-272.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The relationship between health and growth:when Lucas meets Nelson-Phelps," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) 2009-28, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  3. Robert Tamura, 2002. "Human capital and economic development," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2002-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Casper Worm Hansen, 2013. "Health and Development: A Neoclassical Perspective," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 274 - 295.
  5. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Economic Growth: The Role of the Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7361, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2008. "Death and development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 81-124, June.
  7. Hansen, Casper Worm, 2013. "Life expectancy and human capital: Evidence from the international epidemiological transition," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1142-1152.
  8. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Ashley Lester & David N. Weil, 2009. "When Does Improving Health Raise GDP?," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 157-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2006. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 12269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Adrienne M. Lucas, 2010. "Malaria Eradication and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Paraguay and Sri Lanka," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 46-71, April.
  11. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2011. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence From A Historical Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 593-650.
  12. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink, 2009. "Disease and Development Revisited," NBER Working Papers 15137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
  14. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Disease and development: The role of life expectancy reconsidered," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20079, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Life expectancy and economic growth: The role of the demographic transition," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20078, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  16. Philippe Aghion, 2010. "The relationship between health and growth: when Lucas meets Nelson-Phelps," Working Papers, Bruegel 434, Bruegel.
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