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Cervellati, Matteo; Sunde, Uwe (2011): Life expectancy and economic growth: The role of the demographic transition. In: Journal of Economic Growth, Vol. 16, No. 2: pp. 99-133
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This paper investigates the hypothesis that the causal effect of life expectancy on income per capita growth is non-monotonic. This hypothesis follows from the recent literature on unified growth, in which the demographic transition represents an important turning point for population dynamics and hence plays a central role for the transition from stagnation to growth. Results from different empirical specifications and identification strategies document that the effect is non-monotonic, negative (but often insignificant) before the onset of the demographic transition, but strongly positive after its onset. The results provide a new interpretation of the contradictory existing evidence and have relevant policy implications.