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Does longevity improvement always raise the length of schooling through the longer-horizon mechanism?

  • Sau-Him Lau

    (University of Hong Kong)

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    Hazan (2009) performs empirical analysis based on the conjecture that a necessary condition for higher life expectancy to cause longer schooling years is that it also increases lifetime labor supply, and reaches controversial conclusions. We aim to examine the theoretical validity of Hazan's (2009) conjecture, and more generally, to understand the relation between these two conditions in a standard life-cycle model. We find that the relation between the effects on optimal schooling years and expected lifetime labor supply differs systematically with respect to mortality reductions at different stages of the life cycle. Based on these systematic differences, we find that longer lifetime labor supply is not sufficient for increased schooling years for mortality reductions during the schooling years, and not necessary for increased schooling years for some mortality reductions during the working years. We provide explanations regarding why Ben-Porath’s (1967) longer-horizon mechanism in the analysis of the timing of human capital investment is not always applicable to the question regarding the impact of mortality decline on human capital investment.

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    File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2013/paper_292.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 292.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:292
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    1. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Lau, Paul & Sanchez-Romero, Miguel, 2010. "Mortality transition and differential incentives for early retirement," LERNA Working Papers 10.21.327, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    2. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, . "vintage human capital, demographic trends and endogenous growth," Working Papers 2000-02, FEDEA.
    3. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, 2003. "Early Mortality Declines at the Dawn of Modern Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 401-418, 09.
    4. Karen N. Eggleston & Victor R. Fuchs, 2012. "The New Demographic Transition: Most Gains in Life Expectancy Now Realized Late in Life," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 137-56, Summer.
    5. John Wilmoth & Shiro Horiuchi, 1999. "Rectangularization revisited: Variability of age at death within human populations," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 475-495, November.
    6. Ben J. Heijdra & Ward E. Romp, 2008. "A life-cycle overlapping-generations model of the small open economy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 88-121, January.
    7. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
    8. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
    9. Casper Hansen & Lars Lønstrup, 2012. "Can higher life expectancy induce more schooling and earlier retirement?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1249-1264, October.
    10. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Mansfield, Richard K. & Moore, Michael, 2007. "Demographic change, social security systems, and savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 92-114, January.
    11. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    12. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
    13. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
    14. Heijdra, Ben J. & Romp, Ward E., 2009. "Human capital formation and macroeconomic performance in an ageing small open economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 725-744, March.
    15. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink, 2011. "Implications of Population Aging for Economic Growth," PGDA Working Papers 6411, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
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