Health Human Capital and Economic Development
AbstractLifespan has doubled in the world in the last 200 years. In the last 50 years, this advance in health, measured by expectation of life at birth, has been shared more equally among people than the increase in income. The record of this concurrent increase in lifespan and income per capita suggests it may be important to understand how these events are interrelated. The connections between health and development are controversial, in part because the evidence on this topic comes from different scientific disciplines, answering different questions, relying on different types of data and using different analytical methods. However, hypotheses are emerging that merit much more study in Africa and elsewhere, to guide the allocation of resources for health, which will entail refinement of conceptual frameworks to isolate causal relationships through more rigorous empirical testing, and collection of new data for more decisive tests. Two types of relationships are distinguished: first, the linkages between conditions under which people live and their expected lifespan and health status, which characterise the technology of 'health production functions'; second, the relationship between an individual's stock of health and her or his economic productivity, well-being and duration of life, which characterise 'returns to health human capital'. In the last 50 years, the lifespan at birth of the relatively rich and poor converged, at least until the 1990s. There are indications that this was achieved mainly by improvements in nutrition and control of infectious diseases concentrated in childhood that were relatively cheap to disseminate. To control mortality and reduce disability among adults confronting degenerative chronic diseases has proved more costly, and the relatively poor may thus not benefit as much as the rich from the dissemination of these newer medical technologies unless subsidised. However, the prior reduction in childhood illnesses may itself contribute to improved adult health outcomes later in the life cycle. Birth cohorts which have experienced diminished infections and inflammatory illnesses in utero and early childhood and received better early nutrition may also increase their potential economic productivity as adults, as well as live longer lives free of disability. Copyright 2010 The author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: email@example.com, Oxford University Press.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.
Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): suppl_3 (November)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Phone: +44-(0)1865 271084
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://www.jae.oupjournals.org/
More information through EDIRC
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
- Weil, David N., 2014. "Health and Economic Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 3, pages 623-682 Elsevier.
- Binagwaho, Agnes & Hartwig, Renate & Ingeri, Denyse & Makaka, Andrew, 2012. "Mutual health insurance and its contribution to improving child health in Rwanda," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-66-12, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.