IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9765.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Gary S. Becker
  • Tomas J. Philipson
  • Rodrigo R. Soares

Abstract

Lack of income convergence for the world as a whole has led to concerns about the impact of globalization of markets on world inequality. GDP per capita is usually used to proxy for the quality of life of individuals living in different countries. However, well-being is also affected by quantity of life, as represented by longevity. This paper incorporates longevity into an overall assessment of the evolution of cross-country inequality. The absence of income convergence noticed in the growth literature is in stark contrast with the reduction in inequality after incorporating recent gains in longevity. The paper computes a full' income measure to value the life expectancy gains experienced by 49 countries between 1965 and 1995. Countries starting with lower income tended to grow more in terms of full' income than countries starting with higher income. The average growth rate of full' income is about 140% for developed countries, compared to 192% for developing countries. Additionally, we decompose changes in life expectancy into changes attributable to thirteen broad groups of causes of death. Infectious, respiratory and digestive diseases, congenital and perinatal conditions, and ill-defined' conditions are responsible for most of the mortality convergence observed between 1965 and 1995.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9765
    Note: EFG HE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9765.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge Elías, 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
    2. Neumayer, Eric, 2003. "Beyond income: convergence in living standards, big time," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 275-296, September.
    3. Dan Usher, 1973. "The Measurement of Economic Growth," Working Paper 145, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    4. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 1993. "Changes in the wealth of nations," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 17(Spr), pages 3-16.
    5. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 580-601, June.
    6. Tomas J. Philipson & William H. Dow & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Longevity Complementarities under Competing Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1358-1371, December.
    7. G. E. Boyle & T. G. McCARTHY, 1999. "Simple measures of convergence in per capita GDP: a note on some further international evidence," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(6), pages 343-347.
    8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1988. "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 285-304, September.
    9. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    10. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633, Elsevier.
    11. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
    12. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The World Distribution of Income (estimated from Individual Country Distributions)," NBER Working Papers 8933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-2132, December.
    14. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
    16. Randa Sab & Stephen C. Smith, 2002. "Human Capital Convergence: A Joint Estimation Approach," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(2), pages 1-3.
    17. Cannon, Edmund S & Duck, Nigel W, 2000. "Galton's Fallacy and Economic Convergence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 415-419, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2007. "On the Determinants of Mortality Reductions in the Developing World," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(2), pages 247-287, June.
    2. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Welfare Cost of Violence (New Version: Corrected Calculations)," Law and Economics 0312003, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Sep 2004.
    3. Husain, Muhammad Jami, 2009. "Contribution of health to economic development: a survey and overview," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-40, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2006. "The welfare cost of violence across countries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 821-846, September.
    5. Mustafa Gömleksiz & Ahmet Şahbaz & Birol Mercan, 2017. "Regional Economic Convergence in Turkey: Does the Government Really Matter for?," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-16, July.
    6. Steven N. Durlauf & Andros Kourtellos & Chih Ming Tan, 2008. "Empirics of Growth and Development," Chapters, in: Amitava Krishna Dutt & Jaime Ros (ed.), International Handbook of Development Economics, Volumes 1 & 2, volume 0, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Grier, Kevin & Grier, Robin, 2007. "Only income diverges: A neoclassical anomaly," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 25-45, September.
    8. Nicholas Apergis & Christina Christou & Stephen Miller, 2012. "Convergence patterns in financial development: evidence from club convergence," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1011-1040, December.
    9. Bienvenido Ortega & Antonio Casquero & Jesús Sanjuán, 2016. "Corruption and Convergence in Human Development: Evidence from 69 Countries During 1990–2012," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 691-719, June.
    10. Almas Heshmati, 2006. "Continental And Sub-Continental Income Inequality," The IUP Journal of Applied Economics, IUP Publications, vol. 0(1), pages 7-52, January.
    11. Bickenbach, Frank & Bode, Eckhardt, 2001. "Markov or not Markov - this should be a question," Kiel Working Papers 1086, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    12. Durlauf, Steven N. & Quah, Danny T., 1999. "The new empirics of economic growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 235-308, Elsevier.
    13. Birchenall, Javier A. & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2009. "Altruism, fertility, and the value of children: Health policy evaluation and intergenerational welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 280-295, February.
    14. Daniel Cerqueira & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2016. "The Welfare Cost of Homicides in Brazil: Accounting for Heterogeneity in the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Reductions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 259-276, March.
    15. Nicholas Apergis & Christina Christou & Rangan Gupta & Stephen M. Miller, 2015. "Convergence in Income Inequality: Further Evidence from the Club Clustering Methodology across the U.S. States," Working Papers 201539, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    16. Maarten Bosker & Waldo Krugell, 2008. "Regional Income Evolution In South Africa After Apartheid," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 493-523, August.
    17. Haupt, Harry & Schnurbus, Joachim & Semmler, Willi, 2018. "Estimation of grouped, time-varying convergence in economic growth," Econometrics and Statistics, Elsevier, vol. 8(C), pages 141-158.
    18. Amini, Shahram & Battisti, Michele & Parmeter, Christopher F., 2017. "Decomposing changes in the conditional variance of GDP over time," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 376-387.
    19. Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2012. "Life, Death and World Inequality," Staff General Research Papers Archive 34945, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    20. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X., 1996. "Regional cohesion: Evidence and theories of regional growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1325-1352, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9765. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.