The Impact of Health on Productivity: Macro and Microeconomic Evidence and Policy Implications
In: The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2002: Towards a Social Understanding of Productivity
This chapter by Emile Tompa provides a comprehensive review of the theoretical underpinnings and empirical evidence of the health-productivity relationship with an emphasis on the public policy implications. This relationship goes well beyond the obvious effect of health on capacity to work both in terms of energy level and working time. Focusing on the Grossman model, the author describes three additional pathways through which health can affect productivity at an aggregate level. For instance, individuals with a longer life expectancy may choose to invest more in education as they receive greater returns from their investment. They may also be motivated to save more for retirement, which would lead to greater accumulation of physical capital. Finally, improvement in the survival and health of young children may provide incentives for reduced fertility and may result in increased labour-force participation.
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