DP5373 | Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy

Publication Date

17/11/2005

JEL Code(s)

Keyword(s)

Programme Area(s)

Network(s)

Abstract

This research advances an evolutionary growth theory that captures the pattern of life expectancy in the process of development, shedding new light on the sources of the remarkable rise in life expectancy since the Agricultural Revolution. The theory suggests that social, economic and environmental changes that were associated with the transition from hunter-gatherer tribes to sedentary agricultural communities and ultimately to urban societies affected the nature of the environmental hazards confronted by the human population, triggering an evolutionary process that had a significant impact on the time path of human longevity.