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Is There a Life Expectancy Preston Curve for Africa?

Douglason G. Omotor, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Lagos and Delta State University, Abraka

The Preston curve (PC) provides a rotation-shaped relationship between life expectancy at birth and economic growth. The phenomenon though has received popularization, there is still a great deal of dispute about the mechanisms that lie behind the relationships. This study represents an empirical contribution to the existing knowledge and debate on the PC hypothesis; and searches specifically for PCs for African countries. The study provides insightful statistics and causality. A multivariate statistical analysis is conducted using longitudinal data; 1970-2018, to explore the changing mortality patterns of African countries. A scan at the data-sets and preliminary results show existence of a significant relationship for both income and education on the one hand, and life expectancy on the other hand. The 'Granger' causality narratives present a likelihood of ruling out alternative explanations of selectivity and reverse causality. The patterns suggest education a policy priority for improving the health and well-being of Africans.

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 53. Demography of Human Capital Formation