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

  • Cervellati, Matteo
  • Sunde, Uwe

This paper presents a theoretical and empirical analysis of the role of life expectancy for optimal schooling and lifetime labor supply. The results of a simple prototype Ben-Porath model with age-specific survival rates show that an increase in lifetime labor supply is not a necessary, nor a sufficient, condition for greater life expectancy to increase optimal schooling. The observed increase in survival rates during working ages that follows from the ``rectangularization'' of the survival function is crucial for schooling and labor supply. The empirical results suggest that the relative benefits of schooling have been increasing across cohorts of US man born 1840-1930. A simple quantitative analysis shows that a realistic shift in the survival function can lead to an increase in schooling and a reduction in lifetime labor hours.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9399.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9399
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  1. Eytan Sheshinski, 2009. "Uncertain Longevity and Investment in Education," Discussion Paper Series dp520, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  2. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00659868 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Lau, Paul & Sanchez-Romero, Miguel, 2010. "Mortality transition and differential incentives for early retirement," LERNA Working Papers 10.21.327, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  4. 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.
  5. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2000. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends and Endogenous Growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2000007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  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. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Holger Strulik & Sebastian Vollmer, 2013. "Long-run trends of human aging and longevity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 1303-1323, October.
  10. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2013. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1 - 56.
  11. Alan S. Blinder & Yoram Weiss, 1975. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," NBER Working Papers 0067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Casper Hansen & Lars Lønstrup, 2012. "Can higher life expectancy induce more schooling and earlier retirement?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1249-1264, October.
  13. repec:got:cegedp:141 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2008. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence From Maternal Mortality Declines," NBER Working Papers 13947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hippolyte D'Albis & Paul Lau Sau-Him & Miguel Sanchez-Romero, 2012. "Mortality transition and differential incentives for early retirement," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" hal-00659868, HAL.
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