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Wealthier is Healthier

  • Lant Pritchett
  • Lawrence H. Summers

We estimate the effect of income on health using cross-country, time-series data on health (infant and child mortality and life expectancy) and income per capita. We use instrumental variables estimates using exogenous determinants of income growth to identify the pure income effect on health, isolated from reverse causation or incidental association. The long-run income elasticity of infant and child mortality in developing countries lies between -0.2 and -0.4. Using these estimates, we calculate that over a half a million child deaths in the developing world in 1990 alone can be attributed to the poor economic performance in the 1980s.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/146149
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 31 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 841-868

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:31:y:1996:i:4:p:841-868
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Bos, Eduard & Vu, My T. & Stephens, Patience W., 1992. "Sources of World Bank estimates of current mortality rates," Policy Research Working Paper Series 851, The World Bank.
  2. William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  4. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John & Henriques, Maria-Helena, 1990. "Child survival, height for age and household characteristics in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 197-234, October.
  5. James G. MacKinnon & Halbert White, 1983. "Some Heteroskedasticity Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimators with Improved Finite Sample Properties," Working Papers 537, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
  7. Haggblade, Steven & Hazell, Peter & Brown, James, 1989. "Farm-nonfarm linkages in rural sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(8), pages 1173-1201, August.
  8. Robert William Fogel, 1990. "The Conquest of High Mortality and Hunger in Europe and America: Timing and Mechanisms," NBER Historical Working Papers 0016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ravallion, Martin, 1990. "Income Effects on Undernutrition," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(3), pages 489-515, April.
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