The Rise of Life Expectancy and Economic Growth in the 20th Century

23 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2013 Last revised: 20 Sep 2014

See all articles by Casper Worm Hansen

Casper Worm Hansen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; University of Copenhagen

Lars Lønstrup

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

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Date Written: October 13, 2013

Abstract

This study documents that the growth in life expectancy over the 20th century decreased per capita GDP growth and increased population growth. By exploiting significant advances in medical technologies, starting to diffuse in the 1940s, the analysis establishes that countries with higher levels of infectious-disease mortality prior to the medical breakthrough experienced higher growth rates in life expectancy and population size, and lower growth rates in per capita GDP in the time after the medical breakthroughs. These findings are robust to the inclusion of initial life expectancy and initial GDP per capita. The evidence presented here therefore complements the conclusions inferred in the research by Acemoglu and Johnson (2007).

Keywords: Life expectancy; Health shock; Long-run economic growth

JEL Classification: I10, O40, J11

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Casper Worm and Lønstrup, Lars, The Rise of Life Expectancy and Economic Growth in the 20th Century (October 13, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2339662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2339662

Casper Worm Hansen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Copenhagen K, DK 1153
Denmark

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Lars Lønstrup

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.sdu.dk/staff/loe.aspx

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