The Rise of Life Expectancy and Economic Growth in the 20th Century
Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, 16/2013
22 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2013 Last revised: 20 Sep 2014
Date Written: October 16, 2013
This research documents that the growth rate of life expectancy over the 20th century decreased the growth rate of per capita GDP and the growth rate of population. Exploiting exogenous variation in life expectancy from mid-20th century medical advances (e.g., antibiotics), the analysis establishes that countries with higher levels of mortality from infectious diseases prior to the medical innovations experienced higher growth rates in life expectancy and population size and lower growth rates in per capita GDP in the second half of the 20th century. These findings are robust to the inclusion of initial life expectancy and initial economic conditions.
Keywords: Life expectancy, Health shock, Long-run economic growth
JEL Classification: I10, O40, J11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation