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Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth

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Abstract

I use microeconomic estimates of the effect of health on individual outcomes to construct macroeconomic estimates of the proximate effect of health on GDP per capita. I use a variety of methods to construct estimates of the return to health, which I combine with cross-country and historical data on several health indicators including height, adult survival, and age at menarche. My preferred estimate of the share of cross-country variance in log income per worker explained by variation in health is 22.6%, roughly the same as the share accounted for by human capital from education, and larger than the share accounted for by physical capital. I present alternative estimates ranging between 9.5% and 29.5%. My preferred estimate of the reduction in world income variance that would result from eliminating health variations among countries is 36.6%.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2005-07.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2005-07

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Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  12. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-95, June.
  13. Maluccio, John A. & Hoddinott, John & Behrman, Jere R. & Martorell, Reynaldo & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Stein, Aryeh D., 2006. "The impact of an experimental nutritional intervention in childhood on education among Guatemalan adults:," FCND briefs 207, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  14. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  15. Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Wealthier is healthier," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1150, The World Bank.
  16. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2004. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: A Production Function Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, January.
  17. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Growth of Nations," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1732, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. Roderick Floud, 1998. "Height, Weight, and Body Mass of the British Population Since 1820," NBER Historical Working Papers 0108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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