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Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Maternal Mortality Declines

Listed author(s):
  • Seema Jayachandran
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney

Theory suggests that longer life expectancy encourages educational investment because a longer time horizon increases the value of investments that pay out over time. To estimate the magnitude of this effect, we examine a sudden drop in maternal mortality in Sri Lanka between 1946 and 1953, which sharply increased the life expectancy of girls. We assess whether girls' education relative to boys' increases more in areas with larger maternal mortality declines. We find that for every extra year of life expectancy, literacy increases by 0.7 percentage points (2%) and years of education increase by 0.11 years (3%).

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/qjec.2009.124.1.349
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 349-397

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:1:p:349-397.
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