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Demographic Change and Long-Run Development$
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Matteo Cervellati and Uwe Sunde

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036627

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036627.001.0001

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Did Longer Lives Buy Economic Growth? From Malthus to Lucas and Ben-Porath

Did Longer Lives Buy Economic Growth? From Malthus to Lucas and Ben-Porath

(p.69) 4 Did Longer Lives Buy Economic Growth? From Malthus to Lucas and Ben-Porath
Demographic Change and Long-Run Development

David de la Croix

The MIT Press

This chapter provides a detailed theoretical and empirical discussion of how increases in longevity can impact the formation of human capital by favoring the transmission of knowledge through longer contact times between individuals in different age cohorts. By contemplating whether improvements in longevity were responsible for the economic transition, the chapter provides insights into the dynamics and measurement of longevity and presents different mechanisms through which longer lives affect development. These include the contact time available for the young for learning from the elderly and an incentive effect in terms of longer amortization periods for educational investments. Findings suggest that the reduction in mortality in prime working ages (rather than longevity in terms of expected life span) is key for the incentives to invest in formal schooling.

Keywords:   longevity, human capital, economic transition, educational investments, incentive effect, mortality, formal schooling

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