Issues and Challenges of Measurement of Health:Implications for Economic Research
According to the human capital theory, health is a determinant of the economic development and should play a role in the fight against poverty. On the other side, the economic growth, by supplying better sanitation, water quality and hygiene, better education and income, may improve population’s health. Economists, in investigating the relations between development and health, asked for valid and relevant health status measurement. But, on the other hand, the health concept is complex as health includes several dimensions, and researchers face a battery of health indicators. The purpose of this study is to discuss, specifically for economic research, the particularity of each health indicator, the potential bias of their measurement, their advantages, disadvantages, and interest. As health indicators are too numerous, a selection was done and the analysis concerns the most frequent indicators, but also those which should be more used into the economic research perspective. Discussed health indicators are life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at birth, mortality rates (maternal and infant mortality included), cause-specific morbidity rates, Dalys and Qalys.
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