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Do health investments improve agricultural productivity?

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  • McNamara, Paul E.
  • Ulimwengu, John M.
  • Leonard, Kenneth L.

Abstract

Determining the causality between health measures and both income and labor productivity remains an ongoing challenge for economists. This review paper aims to answer the question: Does improved population health lead to higher rates of agricultural growth? In attempting to answer this question, we survey the empirical literature at micro and macro levels concerning the link between health investments and agricultural productivity. The evidence from some micro-level studies suggests that inexpensive health interventions can have a very large impact on labor productivity. The macro-level evidence at the country and global level, however, is mixed at best and in some cases suggests that health care interventions have no impact on income, much less on agricultural productivity. At both micro and macro levels, the literature does not provide a clear-cut answer to the question under investigation. Overall, the review reveals a great deal of heterogeneity in terms of estimation methods, definition and measurement of health variables, choice of economic outcomes, single-equation versus multiple-equation approach, and static versus dynamic approach. The actual magnitude of estimated elasticities is difficult to assess in part due to estimation bias caused by the endogeneity of health outcomes. We also found significant gaps in the literature; for example, very little attention is given to demand for health inputs by rural populations and farmers.

Suggested Citation

  • McNamara, Paul E. & Ulimwengu, John M. & Leonard, Kenneth L., 2010. "Do health investments improve agricultural productivity?," IFPRI discussion papers 1012, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:oup:apecpp:v:39:y:2017:i:3:p:428-440. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 2012. "A Computable OLG Model for Gender and Growth Policy Analysis," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 169, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    3. Sene, Ligane Massamba & Badiane, Ousmane, 2015. "Out-of-pocket health payments: a catalyst for agricultural productivity growth, but with potentially impoverishing effects," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212261, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Allen, Summer L. & Badiane, Ousmane & Ulimwengu, John M., 2012. "Government expenditures, social outcomes, and marginal productivity of agricultural inputs: a case study for Tanzania," IFPRI discussion papers 1172, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Robinson, Sherman & Levy, Stephanie, 2014. "Can cash transfers promote the local economy? A case study for Cambodia:," IFPRI discussion papers 1334, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Jean-Marc MONTAUD & Mahamadou Roufahi TANKARI, 2013. "When social goals meet economic goals: the double dividend of extending free access to healthcare in Uganda," Working Papers 2012-2013_8, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Jul 2013.
    7. Allen, Summer L. & Qaim, Matin, 2012. "Agricultural productivity and public expenditures in sub-saharan africa:," IFPRI discussion papers 1173, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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    Keywords

    Agriculture; Growth; health; Investment; Nutrition; productivity;

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