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Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth

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Abstract

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 use a variety of methods to construct estimates of the return to health, which I combine with cross-country and historical data on several health indicators including height, adult survival, and age at menarche. My preferred estimate of the share of cross-country variance in log income per worker explained by variation in health is 22.6%, roughly the same as the share accounted for by human capital from education, and larger than the share accounted for by physical capital. I present alternative estimates ranging between 9.5% and 29.5%. My preferred estimate of the reduction in world income variance that would result from eliminating health variations among countries is 36.6%.
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  • David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," Working Papers 2005-07, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2005-07
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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