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Life expectancy and economic growth: The role of the demographic transition

  • Cervellati, Matteo
  • Sunde, Uwe

This paper investigates the hypothesis that the causal effect of life expectancy on income per capita growth is non-monotonic. This hypothesis follows from the recent literature on unified growth, in which the demographic transition represents an important turning point for population dynamics and hence plays a central role for the transition from stagnation to growth. Results from different empirical specifications and identification strategies document that the effect is non-monotonic, negative (but often insignificant) before the onset of the demographic transition, but strongly positive after its onset. The results provide a new interpretation of the contradictory existing evidence and have relevant policy implications.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20078.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Growth 2 16(2011): pp. 99-133
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20078
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