NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Death and Development

Peter Lorentzen, John McMillan, Romain Wacziarg

NBER Working Paper No. 11620
Issued in September 2005
NBER Program(s):   EFG   IFM

Analyzing a variety of cross-national and sub-national data, we argue that high adult mortality reduces economic growth by shortening time horizons. Higher adult mortality is associated with increased levels of risky behavior, higher fertility, and lower investment in physical and human capital. Furthermore, the feedback effect from economic prosperity to better health care implies that mortality could be the source of a poverty trap. In our regressions, adult mortality explains almost all of Africa's growth tragedy. Our analysis also underscores grim forecasts of the long-run economic costs of the ongoing AIDS epidemic.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11620

Published: Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2008. "Death and development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 81-124, June.

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