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Health, Growth and Welfare: Why Put Public Money on Medical R&D?


  • Stefano Bosi

    (EQUIPPE (University of Lille 1) and EPEE (University of Evry))

  • Thierry Laurent

    (EPEE (Center for Economic Policy Studies), University of Evry)


This paper aims at providing a simple economic framework to address a somewhat neglected question of economic policy, namely the optimal share of investments in medical R&D in total public spending. In or- der to capture the long-run impact of tax-financed medical R&D on the growth rate, we develop an endogenous growth model in the spirit of Barro [1990]. The model focuses on the optimal sharing of public re- sources between consumption and (non-health) investment, medical R&D and other health expenditures. It emphasizes the key role played by the public health-related R&D in enhancing economic growth and welfare in the long run. According to our numerical simulations - based on pru- dential assumptions about the economic impact of medical R&D - a one billion euros permanent reallocation of public spending in favor of medical R&D, would induce about €4 billions GDP increase the first year and a GDP discounted benefit of about €60 billions over a decade. Then, in economies characterized by productive externalities of R&D, the govern- ment is recommended to invest substantially more in medical R&D in order to implement an optimal policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Bosi & Thierry Laurent, 2008. "Health, Growth and Welfare: Why Put Public Money on Medical R&D?," Documents de recherche 08-18, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:eve:wpaper:08-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    public health; medical R&D; public spending; endogenous growth;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives


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