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Longevity and Schooling: The Case of Retirement

  • Nina Boberg-Fazlic

    (University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics)

It is often conjectured that higher life expectancy leads to longer schooling. The reasoning behind this notion is that a longer lifespan increases the recovery period of human capital investment and thus, makes it more profitable to invest in education. This notion goes back to Ben-Porath (1967) and is therefore often termed the Ben-Porath mechanism. However, the original Ben-Porath mechanism concerns the length of economic life and not the length of life per se. This distinction is important in the presence of retirement and especially so as earlier retirement ages are observed in many western countries. This paper presents an overlapping generations model including both an educational and a retirement decision, thereby being able to test the Ben-Porath mechanism using the correct de nition of length of working life. It is found that an increase in life expectancy does not necessarily increase the expected length of economic life as also early retirement can occur. Schooling still increases, however not due to the increase in the recovery horizon but due to an increase in the probability of surviving the recovery period.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 12-15.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1215
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  1. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Life expectancy and economic growth: The role of the demographic transition," Munich Reprints in Economics 20078, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Ben J. Heijdra & Ward E. Romp, 2007. "Retirement, Pensions, and Ageing," CESifo Working Paper Series 1974, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. 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.
  4. Cruz A. Echevarría, 2004. "Life Expectancy, Schooling Time, Retirement, and Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(4), pages 602-617, October.
  5. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Mansfield, Richard K. & Moore, Michael, 2007. "Demographic change, social security systems, and savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 92-114, January.
  6. Strulik, Holger & Werner, Katharina, 2012. "Life expectancy, labor supply, and long-run growth: Reconciling theory and evidence," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 141, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  7. Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Maternal Mortality Declines-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 349-397, February.
  8. Heijdra, Ben J. & Romp, Ward E., 2009. "Human capital formation and macroeconomic performance in an ageing small open economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 725-744, March.
  9. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
  11. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
  12. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  13. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
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