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Life Expectancy and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Southern African Development Community


  • Biyase, Mduduzi

    (School of Economics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa)

  • Malesa, Mokgadi

    (School of Economics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa)


The objective of this paper is to examine the association between life expectancy and economic growth in a sample of 10 Southern African Development Community members for the period 1985-2017. To account for unobserved country-level heterogeneity we employ the fixed effect estimator. We also use fixed effects two-stage least squares (FE-2SLS) estimator to account for a possible endogeneity bias due to reverse causation between life expectancy and economic growth. Using the fixed effect we find that life expectancy, democracy, and population have the expected positive impact on economic growth. The results are robust to addressing the potential reverse causality between life expectancy and economic growth, controlling for additional variables (such as inflation, trade openness, and government expenditure), and altering the sample of countries (i.e. excluding South Africa from the sample) in the estimation. The estimates from this paper suggest that improving health conditions in the Southern African Development Community can be effective and should continue to be a major focus of policy makers in this region and other developing regions. Aspettativa di vita e crescita economica: evidenze dalla Comunità per lo Sviluppo dell’Africa del Sud La finalità di questo studio è quella di esaminare la relazione tra aspettativa di vita e crescita economica su un campione di 10 paesi della Comunità per lo sviluppo dell’Africa del Sud nel periodo 1985-2017. Si applica la stima a effetto fisso per tenere conto dell’eterogeneità tra i paesi. Si utilizza anche la stima a effetto fisso quadratica minima su due livelli (FE-2SLS) per tenere conto di una possibile tendenza endogena causata dalla relazione inversa tra aspettativa di vita e crescita economica. Utilizzando questo tipo di stima si riscontra che aspettativa di vita, democrazia e popolazione esercitano sulla crescita l’atteso impatto positivo. I risultati sono robusti rispetto ad una possibile relazione inversa di causalità tra aspettativa di vita e crescita economica, tenendo sotto controllo altre variabili (per es. inflazione, apertura commerciale, debito pubblico) e variando i paesi del campione (per es. escludendo il Sud Africa) nelle stime. I risultati evidenziati in questo studio suggeriscono che il miglioramento delle condizioni sanitarie nella Comunità per lo sviluppo dell’Africa del Sud può essere efficace e dovrebbe continuare ad essere l’obiettivo dei governi di questa regione e di altre in via di sviluppo.

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  • Biyase, Mduduzi & Malesa, Mokgadi, 2019. "Life Expectancy and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Southern African Development Community," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 72(3), pages 351-366.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:ecoint:0852

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    SADC; Endogeneity; Economic Growth; Fixed Effect; Life Expectancy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence


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