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There's more to life than money: Exploring the levels|growth paradox in income and health

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  • Charles Kenny

    (The World Bank, Washington DC, USA)

Abstract

This paper discusses historical and recent cross-country evidence relating income to measures of health. After a review of the literature on income and the quality of life, the paper looks at long-term historical evidence on the link between income change and health indicators. Using data on life expectancy, infant mortality and income for a small subset of largely wealthy countries over the 1913-1999 period, the paper examines correlations between income and health at period start and end as well as using the growth of the variables. Using a larger set of data over the period 1975-2000, the paper repeats these tests, as well as looking for any evidence of a larger impact of income, when different data are used or the sample is split. Results suggest a strong cross-country link between income and health and considerable evidence of global improvements over time, but a comparatively weak relationship between improvements in income and improvements in health, even over the very long term. The paper discusses a model based on technology and institutions that might account for such results as well as some preliminary evidence in favour of such a model. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Kenny, 2009. "There's more to life than money: Exploring the levels|growth paradox in income and health," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 24-41.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:21:y:2009:i:1:p:24-41
    DOI: 10.1002/jid.1499
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nik Stoop & Marijke Verpoorten & Koen Deconinck, 2017. "Voodoo, Vaccines and Bed Nets," LICOS Discussion Papers 39417, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    2. William Easterly, 2009. "Can the West Save Africa?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 373-447, June.
    3. Casabonne, Ursula & Kenny, Charles, 2012. "The Best Things in Life are (Nearly) Free: Technology, Knowledge, and Global Health," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35.

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