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Life Expectancy, Schooling, and Lifetime Labor Supply: Theory and Evidence Revisited

  • Matteo Cervellati
  • Uwe Sunde

This paper presents a theoretical and empirical analysis of the role oflife expectancy for optimal schooling and lifetime labor supply. Theresults of a simple prototype Ben-Porath model with age-specificsurvival rates show that an increase in lifetime labor supply is not anecessary, or a sufficient, condition for greater life expectancy toincrease optimal schooling. The observed increase in survival ratesduring working ages that follows from the rectangularization of thesurvival function is crucial for schooling and labor supply. Theempirical results suggest that the relative benefits of schooling havebeen increasing across cohorts of U.S. men born between 1840 and 1930. Asimple quantitative analysis shows that a realistic shift in thesurvival function can lead to an increase in schooling and a reductionin lifetime labor hours.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 81 (2013)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 2055-2086

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:81:y:2013:i:5:p:2055-2086
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