The Intimate Link between Income Levels and Life Expectancy: Global Evidence from 213 Years

31 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2016

See all articles by Michael Jetter

Michael Jetter

University of Western Australia; IZA

Sabine Laudage

University of Bayreuth

David Stadelmann

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics; CREMA

Abstract

Contrary to previous findings, we find a systematic and economically sizeable relationship between income levels and life expectancy in a panel dataset of 197 countries over 213 years. By itself, GDP/capita explains more than 64 percent of the variation in life expectancy. The Preston curve prevails, even when accounting for country- and time-fixed effects, country-specific time trends, and alternative control variables. Quantile regressions and instrumental variable estimations suggest this link to be persistent across different levels of life expectancy and unaffected by reverse causality. If policymakers want to prolong people's lives, economic growth appears to be the predominant medicine.

Keywords: historical panel data, income levels, life expectancy, quantile regression analysis

JEL Classification: I15, I31, J11, H51

Suggested Citation

Jetter, Michael and Laudage, Sabine and Stadelmann, David, The Intimate Link between Income Levels and Life Expectancy: Global Evidence from 213 Years. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2803847

Michael Jetter (Contact Author)

University of Western Australia ( email )

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
AUSTRALIA

Sabine Laudage

University of Bayreuth

Universitatsstr 30
Bayreuth, D-95447
Germany

David Stadelmann

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics ( email )

Universit├Ątsstra├če 30
Bayreuth, 95447
Germany

CREMA ( email )

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

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