Abstract

This research analyzes the evolution of life expectancy at birth in Costa Rica under the global dynamics of this variable in order to find factors that help to explain its stages of rapid growth, deceleration and stagnation. To do this, first, using the concepts of β-convergence and σ-convergence, the existence of a generalized process of upward convergence of life expectancies is confirmed. Afterwards, it is noted that, until the early eighties, the series of Costa Rica approached to best practices at a higher pace than average. Thereafter, the growth of the series slows, beginning to move in parallel with this of best practices. After integrating the explanations of the particular dynamics of Costa Rica in the general framework, where the innovations gap is relevant, the structural factors that may be limiting the ability of certain populations to adopt best practices, as in the case of Costa Rica since 1980, are analyzed. With this purpose, we estimate a dynamic panel data model that provides evidence that the percentage of gross domestic product engaged to public health and, especially, the degree of urbanization are significant variables in this regard.
Keywords: life expectancy, convergence, diffusion of innovations, public expenditures, urbanization