Life expectancy and human capital investments: Evidence from maternal mortality declines

Seema Jayachandran, Adriana Lleras-Muney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theory suggests that longer life expectancy encourages educational investment because a longer time horizon increases the value of investments that pay out over time. To estimate the magnitude of this effect, we examine a sudden drop in maternal mortality in Sri Lanka between 1946 and 1953, which sharply increased the life expectancy of girls. We assess whether girls' education relative to boys' increases more in areas with larger maternal mortality declines. We find that for every extra year of life expectancy, literacy increases by 0.7 percentage points (2%) and years of education increase by 0.11 years (3%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-397
Number of pages49
JournalQuarterly Journal of Economics
Volume124
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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