The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth in the United States
Diana Bowser, Harvard School of Public Health
This paper examines whether economic growth at the state and county level in the United States is due to improvements in life expectancy over the period 1970 to 2000. Cross country analyses have traditionally demonstrated that health leads to economic growth. Recent papers have re-estimated the relationship between health and economic growth, providing some evidence that health may not lead to economic growth. Life expectancy and net earnings per capita data are assembled at the state and county level for the years 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000. The results show mostly a null relationship between improvements in life expectancy and economic growth. However, after controlling for initial levels of life expectancy and net earnings per capita a positive, significant relationship between life expectancy and net earnings per capita is demonstrated in the county level model.
Presented in Poster Session 4