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Accounting for The Effect of Health on Economic Growth

  • David N. Weil

I use microeconomic estimates of the effect of health on individual outcomes to construct macroeconomic estimates of the proximate effect of health on GDP per capita. I employ a variety of methods to construct estimates of the return to health, which I combine with cross-country and historical data on height, adult survival rates, and age at menarche. Using my preferred estimate, eliminating health differences among countries would reduce the variance of log GDP per worker by 9.9 percent and reduce the ratio of GDP per worker at the 90th percentile to GDP per worker at the 10th percentile from 20.5 to 17.9. While this effect is economically significant, it is also substantially smaller than estimates of the effect of health on economic growth that are derived from cross-country regressions. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 122 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 1265-1306

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:3:p:1265-1306
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