Econometrica: Nov 2009, Volume 77, Issue 6

Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications

https://doi.org/10.3982/ECTA8107
p. 1829-1863

Moshe Hazan

Conventional wisdom suggests that increased life expectancy had a key role in causing a rise in investment in human capital. I incorporate the retirement decision into a version of Ben‐Porath's (1967) model and find that a necessary condition for this causal relationship to hold is that increased life expectancy will also increase lifetime labor supply. I then show that this condition does not hold for American men born between 1840 and 1970 and for the American population born between 1890 and 1970. The data suggest similar patterns in Western Europe. I end by discussing the implications of my findings for the debate on the fundamental causes of long‐run growth.

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