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Productivity of Household Investment in Health: The Case of Colombia

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  • Jairo Núñez
  • Rocio Ribero
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    Abstract

    The purpose of this study is to understand how public and private investments in health in Colombia are related to future earnings of individuals. The returns to good health of individuals and the determinants of the health production function are analyzed. The magnitude of the returns to having good health status is identified through the direct effect of health variables on earnings of individuals. Regional (rural-urban) and gender aspects are considered separately. The significant IV estimates showed that one more day of disability decreased male rural earnings by 33% and female by 13%, that having a disability in a given month decreased the earnings of an urban male by 28% and by 14% for an urban female, and that having one more centimeter of stature increased urban female earnings by 6. 9% and urban male earnings by 8%. These returns to height are much larger than those found in other countries and reveal that investments in nutrition are as important as investments in education for future increases in productivity and growth. Estimations of health production functions showed that it would be desirable to increase social security coverage in rural areas in order to see a lower incidence or duration of illness in these regions. However, in urban areas, where the system of social security is more developed, social security may increase the tendency to report illness. In general, wealthier individuals tend to have better health and the interaction between non-labor income of the individual and adequate housing affects positively the health status of individuals. Policies oriented to increase the coverage of basic services in households, such as electricity, potable water or sewage, have a negligible effect on height and, through height, on productivity. Policies oriented to provide more adequate housing translate into better health conditions and productivity for individuals.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3052.

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    Date of creation: Jan 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3052

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    1. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    2. Schultz, T. Paul & Tansel, Aysit, 1997. "Wage and labor supply effects of illness in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana: instrumental variable estimates for days disabled," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 251-286, August.
    3. Strauss, John & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Human resources: Empirical modeling of household and family decisions," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 1883-2023 Elsevier.
    4. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Empirical Modeling of Household and Family Decisions," Papers 95-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
    5. Behrman, Jere R., 1993. "The economic rationale for investing in nutrition in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(11), pages 1749-1771, November.
    6. Schultz, T. Paul, 1997. "Assessing the productive benefits of nutrition and health: An integrated human capital approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 141-158, March.
    7. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
    8. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-15, September.
    9. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution, and Child Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 437-461.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mayer, David, 2000. "On the Role of Health in the Economic and Demographic Dynamics of Brazil, 1980-1995," Arbetsrapport 2000:4, Institute for Futures Studies.

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