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Epidemics and Economics

Author

Listed:
  • David E. Bloom

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • David Canning

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

Abstract

This paper discusses the links between income and infectious disease epidemics and asks how such links are affected by changing global circumstances. Having money and living in a prosperous society protects individuals against health setbacks in general and epidemics in particular. Healthy people get more education, are more productive in the work force, attract foreign investment, and save more. As better health leads to de-creases in family size, the consequent change in a country's age structure can boost eco-nomic growth. Epidemics can obstruct these effects by changing expectations about how well an economy will function and by deterring investment and tourism. In many instances, the immediate costs of an epidemic are apparent, while the long-term costs are unclear. However, when we include the value of human life in the cost, it becomes clear that epidemics are extremely costly. Preventing epidemics requires overcoming a range of obstacles, as does responding to an epidemic once it begins. Globally, long-term vulnerability to epidemics may decrease as development standards rise, but a more highly interconnected world may actually promote the occurrence of infectious disease epidemics.

Suggested Citation

  • David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2006. "Epidemics and Economics," PGDA Working Papers 0906, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  • Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:0906
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    File URL: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2006/BLOOM_CANNINGWP9.2006.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Augier, Laurent & Yaly, Amy, 2013. "Economic growth and disease in the OLG model: The HIV/AIDS case," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 471-481.
    2. Bolos, Bradut & Bacarea, Vladimir & Marusteri, Marius, 2011. "Approaching Economic Issues through Epidemiology–An Introduction to Business Epidemiology," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(1), pages 257-276, March.
    3. Ricardo Hausmann & Ulrich Schetter, 2020. "Horrible Trade-offs in a Pandemic: Lockdowns, Transfers, Fiscal Space, and Compliance," CID Working Papers 382, Center for International Development at Harvard University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Epidemics; growth; development;
    All these keywords.

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