Global Trends in Life Expectancy: A Club Approach
AbstractThis paper discusses the post-war trends in life expectancy worldwide. Even though
applying the specification test to a sample of 125 countries suggests that some life
expectancy clubs exist, their number and borderlines are not properly distinguished
by mechanical splits of the sample. Hence, the clubs are discovered by regression
tree analysis. The potential threshold variables are initial per capita income, literacy,
fertility change, and the HIV prevalence rate in 2005. Four clubs appear, characterized
as High Literacy, Low Literacy, Medium Literacy, and High AIDS, between which
considerable life expectancy differentials appear.
Excluding the HIV prevalence rate from the threshold candidates re-allocates a
considerable number of the members of the High AIDS club, indicating that incomes,
literacy, and fertility are unable to predict AIDS completely. The similarity of economic
and demographic conditions in the Low Literacy and High AIDS clubs, however, raises
concerns about life expectancy convergence in the future.