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The relationship between health and growth:when Lucas meets Nelson-Phelps

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  • Philippe Aghion

    (Harvard University)

  • Peter Howitt

    (Brown University)

  • Fabrice Murtin

    (OECD)

Abstract

This paper revisits the relationship between health and growth in light of modern endogenous growth theory. We propose a unified framework that encompasses the growth effects of both the rate of improvement of health and the level of health. Based on cross-country regressions over the period 1960-2000, where we instrument for both variables, we find that a higher initial level and a higher rate of improvement in life expectancy both have a significantly positive impact on per capita GDP growth. Then, restricting attention to OECD countries, we find supportive evidence that only the reduction in mortality below age forty generates productivity gains, which in turn may explain why the positive correlation between health and growth in cross-OECD country regressions appears to have weakened since 1960.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2009-28.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:0928

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  1. Lorentzen, Peter L. & McMillan, John & Wacziarg, Romain, 2005. "Death and Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 5246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. David Weil, 2006. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_031, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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  7. Zhang, Jie & Zhang, Junsen & Lee, Ronald, 2003. "Rising longevity, education, savings, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 83-101, February.
  8. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The Century of Education," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-42.
  9. Hoyt Bleakley, 2003. "Disease and Development: Evidence from the American South," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 376-386, 04/05.
  10. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. William Hauk & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "A Monte Carlo study of growth regressions," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 103-147, June.
  13. Alan B. Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," NBER Working Papers 7591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  15. Fabrice Murtin & Romain Wacziarg, 2014. "The democratic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 141-181, June.
  16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  17. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  18. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117, 02.
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