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

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  • Matteo Cervellati
  • Uwe Sunde

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • 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, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:81:y:2013:i:5:p:2055-2086 DOI: ECTA11169
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
    2. dʼAlbis, Hippolyte & Lau, Sau-Him Paul & Sánchez-Romero, Miguel, 2012. "Mortality transition and differential incentives for early retirement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 261-283.
    3. de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 1999. "Life expectancy and endogenous growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 255-263, November.
    4. Sheshinski, Eytan, 2009. "Uncertain Longevity and Investment in Education," MPRA Paper 53144, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Alexander Ludwig & Thomas Schelkle & Edgar Vogel, 2012. "Demographic Change, Human Capital and Welfare," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(1), pages 94-107, January.
    6. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
    7. Holger Strulik & Sebastian Vollmer, 2013. "Long-run trends of human aging and longevity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 1303-1323.
    8. Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Maternal Mortality Declines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 349-397.
    9. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
    10. John Wilmoth & Shiro Horiuchi, 1999. "Rectangularization revisited: Variability of age at death within human populations," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(4), pages 475-495, November.
    11. Blinder, Alan S & Weiss, Yoram, 1976. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 449-472, June.
    12. Alexander Ludwig & Thomas Schelkle & Edgar Vogel, 2012. "Demographic Change, Human Capital and Welfare," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(1), pages 94-107, January.
    13. Moshe Hazan, 2006. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Input: Data and Implications," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_065, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    14. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1996. "Was There a National Labor Market at the End of the Nineteenth Century? New Evidence on Earnings in Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 626-656, September.
    15. Strulik, Holger & Werner, Katharina, 2012. "Life Expectancy, Labor Supply, and Long-Run Growth: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-497, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    16. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6825 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Casper Hansen & Lars Lønstrup, 2012. "Can higher life expectancy induce more schooling and earlier retirement?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 1249-1264, October.
    18. Peter Rangazas, 2002. "The Quantity and Quality of Schooling and U.S. Labor Productivity Growth (1870-2000)," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 932-964, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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