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The diffusion of health technologies: Cultural and biological divergence


  • Hansen, Casper Worm

    () (Department of Business and Economics)


This paper proposes the hypothesis that genetic distance to the health frontier influences population health outcomes. Evidence from a world sample suggests that genetic distance - interpreted as long-term cultural and biological divergence - is an important factor in understanding health inequalities across countries. In particular, the paper documents a remarkably robust link between genetic distance and health as measured by life expectancy at birth and the adult survival rate. Also, the evidence reveals that the link has strengthened considerably over the 20th century which highlights the increasing effects of globalization on health conditions across countries through the transmission of health technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Hansen, Casper Worm, 2011. "The diffusion of health technologies: Cultural and biological divergence," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 6/2011, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2011_006

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Skovsgaard, Christian Volmar & Selaya, Pablo, 2016. "Historical Migration Flows and Global Health Differences," COHERE Working Paper 2016:1, University of Southern Denmark, COHERE - Centre of Health Economics Research.

    More about this item


    Population health; international diffusion of health technologies; globalization; cultural and biological divergence;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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