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Trends in life expectancy and the macroeconomy in Malawi


  • Matchaya, Greenwell C


The purpose of this paper was to study trends in life expectancy in Malawi since independence and offer possible explanations regarding its inter-temporal variations. Descriptive analysis has shown that life expectancy in Malawi has trailed below Sub Saharan Africa’s average. From the 1960s through early 1980s, life expectancy improved due to rising incomes and absence of HIV/AIDS. After early 1980s life expectancy declined tremendously and never improved due to the spread of HIV/AIDS, the economic slump that followed the World Bank’s Structural Adjustment programmes (SAP) and the widespread corruption and poor governance in the era of democracy. It is found that at the turn of the new millennium, Malawians were no healthier than their ancestors at the dawn of independence, though such a trend somehow started changing for the better after 2004. In order to meet her health Millennium Development Goals by 2015, Malawi needs to put good governance, agricultural performance and increases in health expenditure at the heart of development policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Matchaya, Greenwell C, 2007. "Trends in life expectancy and the macroeconomy in Malawi," MPRA Paper 11949, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11949

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Samuel H. Preston, 1980. "Causes and Consequences of Mortality Declines in Less Developed Countries during the Twentieth Century," NBER Chapters,in: Population and Economic Change in Developing Countries, pages 289-360 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    life expectancy; GDP; HIV/AIDS; Malawi;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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