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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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Related research

Keywords: Life expectancy; health shock; long-run economic growth;

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References

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  1. Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2006. "Death and Development," 2006 Meeting Papers 61, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Tamura, Robert, 2006. "Human capital and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 26-72, February.
  3. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Disease and development: The role of life expectancy reconsidered," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(3), pages 269-272.
  4. Nunn, Nathan & Qian, Nancy, 2009. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from an Historical Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 7364, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt & Fabrice Murtin, 2010. "The Relationship Between Health and Growth: When Lucas Meets Nelson-Phelps," NBER Working Papers 15813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Ashley Lester & David N. Weil, 2008. "When Does Improving Health Raise GDP?," NBER Working Papers 14449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
  8. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Economic Growth: The Role of the Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 4160, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Casper Worm Hansen, 2013. "Health and Development: A Neoclassical Perspective," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 274 - 295.
  10. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Fink, Günther, 2013. "Disease and Development Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 7391, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Adrienne M. Lucas, 2010. "Malaria Eradication and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Paraguay and Sri Lanka," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 46-71, April.
  12. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
  13. Hansen, Casper Worm, 2013. "Life expectancy and human capital: Evidence from the international epidemiological transition," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1142-1152.
  14. Philippe Aghion, 2010. "The relationship between health and growth: when Lucas meets Nelson-Phelps," Working Papers 434, Bruegel.
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