A closer look at the relationship between life expectancy and economic growth

Théophile T. Azomahou, R. Boucekkine & Bity Diene

#2008-027

We first provide a nonparametric inference of the relationship between life expectancy and economic growth on an historical data for 18 countries over the period 1820-2005. The obtained shape shows up convexity for low enough values of life expectancy and concavity for large enough values. We then study this relationship on a benchmark model combining “perpetual youth" and learning-by-investing. In such a benchmark, the generated relationship between life expectancy and economic growth is shown to be strictly increasing and concave. We finally examine two models departing from “perpetual youth" by assuming successively age-dependent earnings and age-dependent survival probabilities. With age-dependent earnings, the obtained relationship is hump-shaped while agedependent survival laws do reproduce the convex-concave shape detected in the prior empirical study.

Key words: Life expectancy, economic growth, perpetual youth, age-dependent mortality, nonparametric estimation

JEL codes: O41, I20, J10

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

  


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