DETERMINANTS OF LIFE EXPECTANCY IN NIGERIA: DOES AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY MATTER?Abstract:
The paper examines the effects of agricultural productivity and other economic factors on life expectancy in Nigeria. The ARDL approach to cointegration and error correction modelling is employed for analysis of annual time series data spanning the period from1981-2016. The study finds that improvement in agricultural productivity enhances life expectancy in the short in, but adversely affects it in the long run. It also finds that inflation and unemployment adversely affect life expectancy in the short- and long-run. The short-run effect of real per capita income is found to be negative (an indication of uneven distribution of income), while the long run effect is also negative, but statistically not significant. The effects of exchange rate and government recurrent education-expenditure on life expectancy are neither significant in the short- nor in the long-run. Health expenditure positively affects life expectancy in the short run and in the long run. Based on these findings, the study recommends that though agricultural productivity enhances life expectancy in the short run in Nigeria, yet it should be cautiously pursued in a way that it is not detrimental to the industrial (especially, manufacturing) sector as this could have adverse consequences for life expectancy in the long run. There is also need to raise awareness campaigns on proper nutrition to control intake of high calorie and high cholesterol foods as a result of expansion in food production arising from improvement in agricultural productivity. Efforts should also be made by the government to address the unemployment problem and bring inflation under control. In addition, there is need for government to increase budgetary allocation to the health sector.