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Life expectancy and welfare in Latin America and the Caribbean

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  • Rodrigo R. Soares

Abstract

This paper analyses the recent evolution of life expectancy in Latin American and Caribbean countries, and evaluates how much it has contributed to the overall improvements in welfare. We argue that increases in life expectancy between 1960 and 2000, which were largely independent of income, represented gains in welfare comparable to the ones derived from income growth. For countries in the region, estimates of welfare improvements accounting for health increase the numbers obtained from income alone by 40% on average. The available evidence suggests that improvements in public health infrastructure – such as provision of treated water and sewerage services – and large-scale immunization programs may have been the key factors behind the mortality reductions observed in the period. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1460
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): S1 (April)
Pages: S37-S54

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:18:y:2009:i:s1:p:s37-s54

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

Related research

Keywords: life expectancy ; health ; welfare ; inequality ; value of life ;

References

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  1. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rodrigo Reis Soares, 2006. "On the determinants of mortality reductions in the developing world," Textos para discussão 529, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  3. David Cutler & Ellen Meara, 2001. "Changes in the Age Distribution of Mortality Over the 20th Century," NBER Working Papers 8556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sherwin Rosen, . "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  5. Alves, Denisard & Belluzzo, Walter, 2004. "Infant mortality and child health in Brazil," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 391-410, December.
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