The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality
GDP per capita is usually used to proxy for the quality of life of individuals living in different countries. Welfare is also affected by quantity of life, however, as represented by longevity. This paper incorporates longevity into an overall assessment of the evolution of cross-country inequality and shows that it is quantitatively important. The absence of reduction in cross-country inequality up to the 1990s documented in previous work is in stark contrast to the reduction in inequality after incorporating gains in longevity. Throughout the post-World War II period, health contributed to reduce significantly welfare inequality across countries. This paper derives valuation formulas for infra-marginal changes in longevity and computes a "full" growth rate that incorporates the gains in health experienced by 96 countries for the period between 1960 and 2000. Incorporating longevity gains changes traditional results; countries starting with lower income tended to grow faster than countries starting with higher income. We estimate an average yearly growth in "full income" of 4.1 percent for the poorest 50 percent of countries in 1960, of which 1.7 percentage points are due to health, as opposed to a growth of 2.6 percent for the richest 50 percent of countries, of which only 0.4 percentage points are due to health. Additionally, we decompose changes in life expectancy into changes attributable to 13 broad groups of causes of death and three age groups. We show that mortality from infectious, respiratory, and digestive diseases, congenital, perinatal, and "ill-defined" conditions, mostly concentrated before age 20 and between ages 20 and 50, is responsible for most of the reduction in life expectancy inequality. At the same time, the recent effect of AIDS, together with reductions in mortality after age 50-due to nervous system, senses organs, heart and circulatory diseases-contributed to increase health inequality across countries.
Volume (Year): 95 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aer/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Aldy, 2003.
"The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World,"
NBER Working Papers
9487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. " The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
- Cannon, Edmund S & Duck, Nigel W, 2000. "Galton's Fallacy and Economic Convergence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 415-19, April.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2003. "Beyond income: convergence in living standards, big time," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 275-296, September.
- Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005.
"Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 580-601, June.
- Rodrigo R. Soares, 2004. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 9, Econometric Society.
- Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," Development and Comp Systems 0312006, EconWPA.
- Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 1993. "Changes in the wealth of nations," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-16.
- 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.
- Randa Sab & Stephen C. Smith, 2002. "Human Capital Convergence: A Joint Estimation Approach," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(2), pages 3.
- Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002.
"The World Distribution of Income (estimated from Individual Country Distributions),"
NBER Working Papers
8933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The world distribution of income (estimated from individual country distributions)," Economics Working Papers 615, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2002.
- Tomas J. Philipson & William H. Dow & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Longevity Complementarities under Competing Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1358-1371, December.
- Dan Usher, 1973. "The Measurement of Economic Growth," Working Papers 145, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- Sherwin Rosen, .
"The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy,"
University of Chicago - Population Research Center
87-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
- Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999.
"Micro data and general equilibrium models,"
Handbook of Macroeconomics,
in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633
- Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
- repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
- Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge El�as, 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:1:p:277-291. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)or (Michael P. Albert)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.