Disease and Development Re-examined: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth

Joannes Jacobsen
Danish National Center for Social Research, Denmark

Using similar theoretical frameworks, two recent papers by Acemoglu and Johnson (2007) and Ashraf et al. (2008), respectively, come to rather different conclusions regarding the empirical effect of increased life expectancy on income per capita. This paper presents a solution to this puzzle. We show that the model of Acemoglu and Johnson implies a dfferent dynamic specifcation of the theoretical relationship between increases in life expectancy and income per capita than the one derived in their paper. Empirical analysis based on the correct theoretical relationship results in estimates that are compatible with those of Ashraf et al.

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