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Mortality versus morbidity in the demographic transition

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  • Aksan, Anna-Maria
  • Chakraborty, Shankha

Abstract

The link between the mortality and epidemiological transitions is used to identify the effect of the former on the fertility transition: a mortality transition that is not accompanied by improving morbidity causes slower demographic and economic change. In a model where children may die from infectious disease, childhood health affects human capital and noninfectious-disease-related adult mortality. When child mortality falls from lower prevalence, as it did in western Europe, labor productivity improves, fertility falls and the economy prospers. When it falls mainly from better cures, as it has in sub-Saharan Africa, survivors are less healthy and there is little economic growth. The model can quantitatively explain sub-Saharan Africa׳s experience. More generally it shows that the commonly used indicator, life expectancy at birth, is a poor predictor of population health and economic growth unless morbidity falls with mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Aksan, Anna-Maria & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2014. "Mortality versus morbidity in the demographic transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 470-492.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:70:y:2014:i:c:p:470-492
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.06.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bloom, David E. & Kuhn, Michael & Prettner, Klaus, 2018. "Health and Economic Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 11939, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Casper Worm Hansen & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Life expectancy and education: evidence from the cardiovascular revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 421-450, December.
    3. Joseph Molitoris, 2017. "Disparities in death: Inequality in cause-specific infant and child mortality in Stockholm, 1878‒1926," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(15), pages 455-500, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic growth; Africa; Fertility; Mortality; Morbidity;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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