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The relationship between health and GDP in OECD countries in the very long run


  • Robyn Swift


This paper uses Johansen multivariate cointegration analysis to examine the relationship between health and GDP for 13 OECD countries over the last two centuries, for periods ranging from 1820–2001 to 1921–2001. A similar, long run, cointegrating relationship between life expectancy and both total GDP and GDP per capita was found for all the countries estimated. The relationships have a significant influence on both total GDP and GPD per capita in most of the countries estimated, with 1% increase in life expectancy resulting in an average 6% increase in total GDP in the long run, and 5% increase in GDP per capita. Total GDP and GDP per capita also have a significant influence on life expectancy for most countries. There is no evidence of changes in the relationships for any country over the periods estimated, indicating that shifts in the major causes of illness and death over time do not appear to have influenced the link between health and economic growth. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Robyn Swift, 2011. "The relationship between health and GDP in OECD countries in the very long run," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 306-322, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:20:y:2011:i:3:p:306-322

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nadide Sevil Halıcı-Tülüce & İbrahim Doğan & Cüneyt Dumrul, 2016. "Is income relevant for health expenditure and economic growth nexus?," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 23-49, March.
    2. Wittmann, Nadine, 2014. "Economic reasoning on the correlation between life expectancy and economic development: Exploring alternative routes," Economics Discussion Papers 2014-43, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Samantha B. Rawlings, 2015. "Parental education and child health: Evidence from an education reform in China," CINCH Working Paper Series 1511, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health, revised Aug 2015.
    4. Niu, G., 2014. "Essays on subjective expectations and mortality trends," Other publications TiSEM b9f72836-d8ad-478b-adca-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Johan Mackenbach & Caspar Looman, 2013. "Changing patterns of mortality in 25 European countries and their economic and political correlates, 1955–1989," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 58(6), pages 811-823, December.
    6. Åsa Johansson, 2016. "Public Finance, Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1346, OECD Publishing.
    7. Hallin, M. & Werker, B.J.M. & van den Akker, R., 2015. "Optimal Pseudo-Gaussian and Rank-based Tests of the Cointegration Rank in Semiparametric Error-correction Models," Discussion Paper 2015-001, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. Wen-Yi Chen, 2016. "Health progress and economic growth in the USA: the continuous wavelet analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 831-855, May.
    9. Geng Niu & Bertrand Melenberg, 2014. "Trends in Mortality Decrease and Economic Growth," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1755-1773, October.
    10. Brandt, Martina & Deindl, Christian & Hank, Karsten, 2012. "Tracing the origins of successful aging: The role of childhood conditions and social inequality in explaining later life health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(9), pages 1418-1425.
    11. Nagel, Korbinian, 2016. "A Life Course Perspective on the Income-to-Health Relationship: Macro-Empirical Evidence from two Centuries," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145810, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Hallin, Marc & van den Akker, Ramon & Werker, Bas J.M., 2016. "Semiparametric error-correction models for cointegration with trends: Pseudo-Gaussian and optimal rank-based tests of the cointegration rank," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 190(1), pages 46-61.
    13. Murat CETIN & Ibrahim DOGAN, 2015. "The Impact Of Education And Health On Economic Growth: Evidence From Romania (1980-2011)," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(2), pages 133-147, June.
    14. Astolfi, Roberto & Lorenzoni, Luca & Oderkirk, Jillian, 2012. "Informing policy makers about future health spending: A comparative analysis of forecasting methods in OECD countries," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 1-10.

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    health ; GDP ; life expectancy ; economic growth ; VECM ;


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