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Health investments and economic growth : macroeconomic evidence and microeconomic foundations

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  • Jack, William
  • Lewis, Maureen

Abstract

This paper reviews the correlations and potential links between health and economic growth and summarizes the evidence on the role of government in improving health status. At the macroeconomic level, the evidence of an impact of health on growth remains ambiguous due both to difficulties in measuring health, and to the methodological challenges of identifying causal links. The evidence on the micro linkages from health investments to productivity and income are robust. Progress in life expectancy over the past two centuries has been spectacular, fueled by: improved agriculture that has increased food quantity; knowledge of disease transmission, and effective public health interventions that have controlled communicable diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and hookworm; and, most recently and importantly, investments in very young children that pay off in healthier and more productive adults. Whether public investments in medical care affect health hinges on the quality of health institutions. In much of the developing world, factors such as chronic absenteeism among public providers, poor budget execution, ineffective management, and virtually no accountability weaken public efforts. Institutional issues are central in efforts to enhance public health investments, which in turn have a direct impact on the population's welfare and, perhaps over the long term, improvements in national income.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4877.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4877

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Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Health Systems Development&Reform; Population Policies; Health Economics&Finance; Disease Control&Prevention;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Casabonne, Ursula & Kenny, Charles, 2012. "The Best Things in Life are (Nearly) Free: Technology, Knowledge, and Global Health," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35.
  2. Tang, Chor Foon, 2011. "Multivariate Granger Causality and the Dynamic Relationship between Health Care Spending, Income and Relative Price of Health Care in Malaysia," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 52(2), pages 199-214, December.
  3. Yusuke Kamiya, 2010. "Determinants of Health in Developing Countries:Cross-Country Evidence," OSIPP Discussion Paper 10E009, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.
  4. Martine Audibert & Pascale Combes Motel & Alassane Drabo, 2013. "Health capital depreciation effects on development: theory and measurement," Working Papers halshs-00832877, HAL.
  5. World Bank, 2012. "Liberia : Strategic Policy Options for Medium Term Growth and Development," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12608, The World Bank.
  6. Clemens, Michael A., 2009. "Skill Flow: A Fundamental Reconsideration of Skilled-Worker Mobility and Development," MPRA Paper 19186, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Jakob Madsen, 2012. "Health, Human Capital Formation and Knowledge Production: Two Centuries of International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 18461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Martine AUDIBERT & Pascale COMBES MOTEL & Alassane DRABO, 2010. "Global Burden of Disease and Economic Growth," Working Papers 201036, CERDI.
  9. Lofgren, Hans, 2013. "Creating and using fiscal space for accelerated development in Liberia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6678, The World Bank.
  10. Arndt, Channing & Jones, Sam & Tarp, Finn, 2013. "Assessing Foreign Aid.s Long-Run Contribution to Growth in Development," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  11. Basseti, Thomas & Benos, Nikos & Karagiannis, Stelios, 2010. "How policy can influence human capital accumulation and environment quality," MPRA Paper 21754, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Yuyu Chen & Hui Wang & Se Yan, 2014. "The Long-Term Effects of Protestant Activities in China," CEH Discussion Papers 25, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  13. Jean-Marc MONTAUD & Mahamadou Roufahi TANKARI, 2013. "When social goals meet economic goals: the double dividend of extending free access to healthcare in Uganda," Working Papers 2012-2013_8, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Jul 2013.
  14. KAMIYA, Yusuke, 2011. "Effects of Health Systems and Socioeconomic Factors in Reducing Child Mortality in Developing Countries: Empirical Results from System Generalised Method of Moments," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 11(2).

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