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GDP and life expectancy in Italy and Spain over the long-run (1861-2008): insights from a time-series approach

  • Emanuele Felice

    (Departament d'Economia i d'Història Econòmica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Josep Pujol Andreu

    (Departament d'Economia i d'Història Econòmica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

The article presents and discusses long-run series of per capita GDP and life expectancy for Italy and Spain (1861-2008). After refining the available estimates in order to make them comparable and with the avail of the most up-to-date researches, the main changes in the international economy and in technological and sociobiological regimes are used as analytical frameworks to re-assess the performances of the two countries; then structural breaks are searched for and Granger causality between the two variables is investigated. The long-run convergence notwithstanding, significant cyclical differences between the two countries can be detected: Spain began to modernize later in GDP, with higher volatility in life expectancy until recent decades; by contrast, Italy showed a more stable pattern of life expectancy, following early breaks in per capita GDP, but also a negative GDP break in the last decades. Our series confirm that, whereas at the early stages of development differences in GDP tend to mirror those in life expectancy, this is no longer true at later stages of development, when, if any, there seems to be a negative correlation between GDP and life expectancy: this finding is in line with the thesis of a non-monotonic relation between life expectancy and GDP and is supported by tests of Granger causality.

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Paper provided by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica in its series UHE Working papers with number 2013_06.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:uhewps:2013_06
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