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Health and Economic Growth: Reconciling the Micro and Macro Evidence

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  • Bloom, David E.

    (Harvard University)

  • Canning, David

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Kotschy, Rainer

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Prettner, Klaus

    (University of Hohenheim)

  • Schünemann, Johannes

    (University of Göttingen)

Abstract

Micro-based and macro-based approaches have been used to assess the effects of health on economic growth. Micro-based approaches aggregate the return on individual health from Mincerian wage regressions to derive the macroeconomic effects of population health. Macro-based approaches estimate a generalized aggregate production function that decomposes output into its components. The microbased approach tends to find smaller effects than the macro-based approach, thus presenting a micromacro puzzle regarding the economic return on health. We reconcile these two strands of literature by showing that the point estimate of the macroeconomic effect of health is quantitatively close to that found by aggregating the microeconomic effects, controlling for potential spillovers of population health at the aggregate level. Our results justify using the micro-based approach to estimate the direct economic benefits of health interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Kotschy, Rainer & Prettner, Klaus & Schünemann, Johannes, 2018. "Health and Economic Growth: Reconciling the Micro and Macro Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 11940, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11940
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity; population health; human capital; economic development; return on health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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