HIV/AIDS and Cross-National Convergence in Life Expectancy
Population and Development Review, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2004
30 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2004 Last revised: 8 Mar 2009
Date Written: April 1, 2004
This article analyzes the impact of HIV/AIDS on the global convergence in life expectancy as well as infant and child survival rates by comparing two scenarios. One is based on actual estimated and extrapolated values given the existence of the epidemic ("AIDS-scenario"). The other is based on hypothetical values based on estimations where the mortality caused by the epidemic is taken out ("No AIDS-scenario"). Both beta- and s-convergence analysis is undertaken both with and without weighting by population size. In the "AIDS-scenario" convergence in life expectancy becomes stalled in the late 1980s (without weighting) or 1990s (with weighting). Convergence in infant and child survival rates does not become stalled, but slows down. That these results are mainly due to the epidemic follows from the convergence analysis in the "No AIDS-scenario", where all signs of stalled convergence or even divergence disappear. The reason why HIV/AIDS has such a strong impact on convergence is because the disease is most prevalent in low-income countries with rampant poverty, deficient health care systems and relatively low life expectancies and survival rates.
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