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Diseases and Development

This paper examines two related questions: what effects do infectious diseases exert on growth and development, and are they quantitatively important? We present evidence on the effect of health and infectious diseases on economic development using Hansen’s (2000) endogenous threshold methodology. Taking into account various proxies for infectious diseases as potential threshold variables we show that countries are clustered in regimes that obey different growth paths and thus provide direct evidence of threshold effects. Motivated by this evidence we propose an epidemiological overlapping generations model where the transmission and incidence of an infectious disease depend upon economic incentives and rational behavior. The economic cost of the disease comes from its effect on mortality (infected individuals can die prematurely) and morbidity (lower productivity and/or lower flow of utility from a given consumption bundle). Our main theoretical finding is that if infectious diseases are particularly virulent or debilitating, growth- or development-traps are possible. Numerical results from a calibrated version of the model show that threshold effects of diseases are quantitatively important and in particular, significant health interventions are required to propel disease-afflicted countries to a high-growth trajectory.

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File URL: http://www.bus.lsu.edu/economics/papers/pap05_12.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2005-12.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2005-12
Contact details of provider: Postal: Baton Rouge, LA 70803-6306
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  1. Durlauf, S.N. & Johnson, P.A., 1994. "Multiple Regimes and Cross-Country Growth Behavior," Working papers 9419, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment Updates and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
  4. Costas AZARIADIS & David DE LA CROIX, 2002. "Growth or equality ? Losers and gainers from financial reform," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2002036, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  5. Steven N. Durlauf & Danny T. Quah, 1998. "The New Empirics of Economic Growth," Working Papers 98-01-012, Santa Fe Institute.
  6. Durlauf, Steven N. & Kourtellos, Andros & Minkin, Artur, 2001. "The local Solow growth model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 928-940, May.
  7. Bloom, David E & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2003. " Geography and Poverty Traps," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 355-78, December.
  8. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2003. "Disease and Development in Historical Perspective," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 397-405, 04/05.
  10. Hansen, Bruce E, 1996. "Inference When a Nuisance Parameter Is Not Identified under the Null Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 413-30, March.
  11. Caner, Mehmet & Hansen, Bruce E., 2004. "Instrumental Variable Estimation Of A Threshold Model," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(05), pages 813-843, October.
  12. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2000. "The Economic Burden of Malaria," CID Working Papers 52, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  13. Javier Birchenall, 2007. "Escaping high mortality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 351-387, December.
  14. Caner, Mehmet, 2002. "A Note On Least Absolute Deviation Estimation Of A Threshold Model," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(03), pages 800-814, June.
  15. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
  16. Winford H. Masanjala & Chris Papageorgiou, 2004. "The Solow model with CES technology: nonlinearities and parameter heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 171-201.
  17. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
  18. Liu, Zhenjuan & Stengos, Thanasis, 1999. "Non-linearities in Cross-Country Growth Regressions: A Semiparametric Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 527-38, Sept.-Oct.
  19. Desmond McCarthy & Holger Wolf & Yi Wu, 2000. "The Growth Costs of Malaria," NBER Working Papers 7541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Geoffard, P.Y. & Philipson, T., 1995. "Rational Epidemics and their Public Control," DELTA Working Papers 95-15, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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