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Endogenous Lifetime and Economic Growth

  • Shankha Chakraborty

    ()

    (University of Oregon Economics Department)

Conventional wisdom attributes the severity of mortality in poorer countries to widespread poverty and inadequate living conditions. This paper considers the possibility that persistent poverty may arise, in turn, from a high incidence of mortality. Endogenous mortality risk is introduced in a two-period overlapping generations model: probability of survival from the first period to the next depends upon health capital that can be augmented through public investment. High mortality societies do not grow fast since shorter lifespans discourage saving and investment; multiple steady-states are possible. High mortality also reduces returns on investments, like education, where risks are undiversifiable. When human capital drives economic growth, countries differing in only health capital do not converge to similar living standards; 'threshold effects' may also result.

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Paper provided by University of Oregon Economics Department in its series University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers with number 2002-03.

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Length: 44
Date of creation: 26 Jan 2002
Date of revision: 26 Jan 2002
Handle: RePEc:ore:uoecwp:2002-03
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