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Death and Development

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  • Peter Lorentzen
  • John McMillan
  • Romain Wacziarg

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Death and Development," NBER Working Papers 11620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11620
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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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