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Death and Development

  • Peter Lorentzen
  • John McMillan
  • Romain Wacziarg

Analyzing a variety of cross-national and sub-national data, we argue that high adult mortality reduces economic growth by shortening time horizons. Higher adult mortality is associated with increased levels of risky behavior, higher fertility, and lower investment in physical and human capital. Furthermore, the feedback effect from economic prosperity to better health care implies that mortality could be the source of a poverty trap. In our regressions, adult mortality explains almost all of Africa's growth tragedy. Our analysis also underscores grim forecasts of the long-run economic costs of the ongoing AIDS epidemic.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11620.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2008. "Death and development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 81-124, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11620
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