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The Economic Case for Devoting Public Resources to Health


  • Bloom, David E.

    () (Harvard University)

  • Fink, Günther

    () (Harvard School of Public Health)


The world has enjoyed huge improvements in population health during the last half century. But major health problems persist, particularly in tropical countries, which are still struggling with infectious diseases while increasingly having to deal with noncommunicable diseases. Several classic arguments for public spending on health have buttressed governments' efforts to improve health. These efforts have now been further spurred by new economic arguments that better population health may promote economic well-being – via beneficial changes in labor productivity, education, and investment, and through demographic change. The economic consequences of improved health can be large, but realizing them depends on the policies adopted in myriad other arenas.

Suggested Citation

  • Bloom, David E. & Fink, Günther, 2013. "The Economic Case for Devoting Public Resources to Health," IZA Policy Papers 57, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp57

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    Cited by:

    1. Narayan, Laxmi, 2015. "Health Disparities in Haryana - A District Level Analysis," MPRA Paper 64478, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    investment in health; labor productivity; education; demographic change; health gaps;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health

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