Life Expectancy and Economic Development: Evidence from Microdata
44 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2021 Last revised: 25 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 14, 2021
This study examines the effect of life expectancy on fertility, education and labor force participation. Using birth and sibling histories from the Demographic Health Surveys conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, I construct time series of age-specific birth rates and mortality rates at the country-region level. I use this data to test the implications of a general equilibrium model linking life expectancy to fertility, human capital, and labor supply. My results suggest that increases in life expectancy reduce fertility, increase education, and increase labor force participation. Overall, my empirical results suggest that in sub-Saharan Africa, increases in life expectancy will have a positive impact on growth through fertility, education, and labor supply, but that the effect will be small. My results also rule out the possibility that recent shocks to adult mortality in high HIV prevalence countries will reduce fertility, increase labor productivity, and lead to faster growth.
Keywords: Economic Development, Life Expectancy, Fertility, Education, Labor Supply, HIV/AIDS
JEL Classification: O12, J13, J22, I25
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation