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How Much of Cross-Country Income Variation is Explained By Health?

  • Gauri Kartini Shastry

    (Harvard University,)

  • David N. Weil

    (Brown University and NBER,)

We use development accounting techniques to assess the contribution of health to differences in income per capita among countries. Rather than rely on regressions in aggregate data, we build up estimates of the effect of health starting from microeconomic data. We examine both a particular condition, anemia, and a proxy for general health, the adult survival rate. We find that differences in anemia explain 1.3 percent of the log variance of income per capita, and that differences in adult survival explain 19 percent of the log variance of income per capita. The latter figure is almost one third of the variation in output that is left unexplained by other measures of factor accumulation. (JEL: O47, I10) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 1 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04/05)
Pages: 387-396

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:2-3:p:387-396
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  1. Felicia Marie Knaul & Edmundo Murrugarra & Carlos Hernández Alvarez & Rafael Cortez & William D. Savedoff & Jaime Espinosa Ferrando & Rocío Ribero Medina & Martín Valdivia & T. Paul Schultz & Jairo Nú, 2000. "Wealth from Health: Linking Social Investments to Earnings in Latin America," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 42218 edited by William D. Savedoff & T. Paul Schultz.
  2. Levin, Henry M, 1986. "A Benefit-Cost Analysis of Nutritional Programs for Anemia Reduction," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 1(2), pages 219-45, July.
  3. David Weil, 2006. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_031, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  4. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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