Longevity and Economic Growth: Three Essays

Laurent Brembilla

Novembre 2016

Université Paris-Dauphine

Sous la direction de Najat El Mekkaoui de Freitas

This dissertation is interested in the long-run relationship between longevity and economic development. In the first chapter, I analyze the impact of health expenditures on economic growth and welfare. For this, I study the influence of the tax rate in an economy à la Chakraborty (2004). I first determine the growth-maximizing tax rate, which is shown to be 0 in low-income countries. Second, I show that the steady-state income level is an inverted U-shaped function or a decreasing function of the tax rate. Third, I study the tax rate that maximizes the steady-state welfare level. In the second chapter, I propose a theoretical model to study the growth impacts of health expenditures chosen by the agents. Indeed, I develop a Diamond model with endogenous growth in which young individuals can spend resources to increase their longevity in retirement period. I give a full characterization of the dynamic general equilibrium and determine the growth impacts of health expenditures. They can speed up or slow down economic growth. They can be a barrier or a necessity for growth to take place. A calibration to OECD countries suggests that the latter case is the most likely one. Finally, the third chapter studies the theoretical impact of the aging process on the sectorial labor allocation. To this aim, I develop a multi-sector two-period overlapping generations model in which I examine the consequences of both a longevity shift and a fertility shift on the labor allocation of the economy and on the income per worker level. I show that contrary to one-sector models, the income per worker level is not necessarily monotonic with respect to demographic variables. Realistic demographic shocks are also shown to create significant labor reallocation across sectors.


Mots clés: Economic growth, Longevity, Overlapping generations, Structural change, Aging, Endogenous lifetime, Health and development.