A new international report published by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) - the country’s leading think tank focusing on the impact of our rapidly ageing society – finds that as life expectancy rises output increases per hour worked, per worker and per capita.

The report, ‘Towards a longevity dividend: Life expectancy and productivity across developed countries’ examines the effects of life expectancy on productivity across developed countries since the 1970s, analysing demographic and macroeconomic data collected by the OECD for 35 countries.

Using an instrumental variables approach, the report finds the relationship between life expectancy and productivity is robust to different productivity measures, the inclusion of a range of explanatory and control variables and different instruments.

Key findings include:

  • Life expectancy is a more powerful determinant of productivity than either the young or old age dependency ratios
  • When investigating the channels through which life expectancy boosts productivity, education is more important than employment. In this context, rising life expectancy raises the returns to education
  • There may well be a longevity dividend, whereby improvements to health result in wider economic and productivity gains in developed countries

Overall, the report analysis suggests that there may well be a longevity dividend, whereby improvements to health result in wider economic and productivity improvements. The report argues that improving health and raising life expectancy must therefore remain a key goal not only for a nation’s health and wellbeing but also for the wider economy.

Ben Franklin, Assistant Director, Research and Policy said:

‘Our analysis is important, since in many debates about long run government spending, health spending is simply seen as a drain on fiscal resources, yet if by raising life expectancy it results in productivity improvements, this could support increased tax revenue for the exchequer.

Public policy and economic forecasters should consider how best to take into account the potential fiscal benefit of better health and not neglect it in discussions of our long run sustainability.’


Notes to editors

‘Towards a longevity dividend: Life expectancy and productivity across developed countries’ was published on the ILC-UK website at 00:01 Monday, 20th August


Dave Eaton at or Ben Franklin on 07393 325 293.


The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.


We are recruiting for a temporary Events Coordinator to coordinate and support our busy events calendar for the remainder of 2018, build on our external communications and assist the Head of External Affairs on communications around our Future of Ageing conference.

New international report explores the relationship between life expectancy and productivity in developed countries.

ILC-UK are once again looking for someone to speak for 10 minutes on the plenary platform in front of 250 people at our annual Future of Ageing Conference (29th November, London).

“Auto-enrolment has successfully led to millions more saving each month towards a pension, but the Committee is right to call for action to get people saving more. We are pleased they support our recommendations to consider automatic escalation of pension contributions for some individuals, and we agree that a strategy is needed to automatically-enrol the self-employed."

Dr Brian Beach, Senior Research Fellow at ILC-UK and who gave oral evidence to the Committee, welcomes the Committee’s call for stronger action by Government and EHRC and says it’s crucial that employers understand what ageism really is.

“The latest Fiscal Sustainability Report makes it very clear that we are facing an uncertain future. Demographic pressures are set to continue to dominate the agenda, with health, pension and adult social care spending all set to rise as a proportion of total GDP."