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The effect of life expectancy on schooling: Evidence from the international health transition




The influence of life expectancy on schooling is usually thought of as one main mechanism by which life expectancy possibly affects income per capita and thus economic development. However, the relevance of this channel has been qualified in recent research. This paper studies whether life expectancy has an effect on the number of years of schooling. Using cross-country panel data, the empirical analysis finds that a 1 percent rise in life expectancy at birth increases years of schooling by 3.5 percent. The analysis also demonstrates that this result is not driven by child mortality or by general improvements in living standards. All in all, the evidence presented suggests that health, as measured by life expectancy, has a direct positive effect on the accumulation of human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Hansen, Casper Worm, 2012. "The effect of life expectancy on schooling: Evidence from the international health transition," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 6/2012, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2012_006

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cohen, Daniel & Leker, Laura, 2014. "Health and Education: Another Look with the Proper Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 9940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Life expectancy; human capital; economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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