IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/11405.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Value of Health and Longevity

Author

Listed:
  • Kevin M. Murphy
  • Robert H. Topel

Abstract

We develop an economic framework for valuing improvements to health and life expectancy, based on individuals' willingness to pay. We then apply the framework to past and prospective reductions in mortality risks, both overall and for specific life-threatening diseases. We calculate (i) the social values of increased longevity for men and women over the 20th century; (ii) the social value of progress against various diseases after 1970; and (iii) the social value of potential future progress against various major categories of disease. The historical gains from increased longevity have been enormous. Over the 20th century, cumulative gains in life expectancy were worth over $1.2 million per person for both men and women. Between 1970 and 2000 increased longevity added about $3.2 trillion per year to national wealth, an uncounted value equal to about half of average annual GDP over the period. Reduced mortality from heart disease alone has increased the value of life by about $1.5 trillion per year since 1970. The potential gains from future innovations in health care are also extremely large. Even a modest 1 percent reduction in cancer mortality would be worth nearly $500 billion.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2005. "The Value of Health and Longevity," NBER Working Papers 11405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11405
    Note: EFG EH LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11405.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-265, April.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1984. "R&D, Patents, and Productivity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril84-1, March.
    3. Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(3), pages 729-758.
    4. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2001. "The Life-Cycle Model of Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    5. Dan Usher, 1973. "The Measurement of Economic Growth," Working Paper 145, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    6. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2002. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Some Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," Centro de Alti­simos Estudios Ri­os Pe©rez(CAERP) 7, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
    7. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income, and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633, Elsevier.
    9. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    10. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
    11. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity Growth at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 213-240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ehrlich, Isaac & Chuma, Hiroyuki, 1990. "A Model of the Demand for Longevity and the Value of Life Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 761-782, August.
    13. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Tolley, George & Kenkel, Donald & Fabian, Robert (ed.), 1994. "Valuing Health for Policy," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226807133, September.
    15. Robert H. Topel & Finis Welch, 1986. "Efficient Labor Contracts with Employment Risk," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 490-507, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
    2. Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis & Ribeiro, Priscila Fernandes, 2015. "Estimating the elasticity of intertemporal substitution taking into account the precautionary savings motive," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 108-123.
    3. Daria Pignalosa, 2021. "The Euler Equation Approach: Critical Implications of Recent Developments in the Theory of Intertemporal Choice," Bulletin of Political Economy, Bulletin of Political Economy, vol. 15(1), pages 1-43, June.
    4. Ryan Edwards, 2013. "The cost of uncertain life span," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 1485-1522, October.
    5. Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis & Paz, Lourenço S., 2013. "Estimating the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: Is the aggregate financial return free from the weak instrument problem?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 63-75.
    6. Reichling, Felix, 2006. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Labor Market Equilibrium when Workers can Self-Insure," MPRA Paper 5362, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2007.
    7. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2007. "The Value of Life and the Rise in Health Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(1), pages 39-72.
    8. Beeler, Jason & Campbell, John Y., 2012. "The Long-Run Risks Model and Aggregate Asset Prices: An Empirical Assessment," Critical Finance Review, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 141-182, January.
    9. Yulei Luo & William T. Smith & Heng-fu Zou, 2009. "The Spirit of Capitalism and Excess Smoothness," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 10(2), pages 281-301, November.
    10. Charlotte Ostergaard & Bent E. Serensen & Oved Yosha, 2002. "Consumption and Aggregate Constraints: Evidence from U.S. States and Canadian Provinces," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 634-645, June.
    11. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Søren Leth-Petersen & Torben Heien Nielsen & Tore Olsen, 2014. "Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowd-Out in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(3), pages 1141-1219.
    12. De Veirman Emmanuel & Dunstan Ashley, 2011. "Time-Varying Returns, Intertemporal Substitution and Cyclical Variation in Consumption," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-41, July.
    13. Tomas Havranek, 2013. "Publication Bias in Measuring Intertemporal Substitution," Working Papers IES 2013/15, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Oct 2013.
    14. Huang, Chao-Hsi, 2010. "International capital mobility: An alternative test based on intertemporal current account models," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 467-482, June.
    15. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2017. "Inequality and public debt: A positive analysis," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(5), pages 1155-1173, November.
    16. Qiang Zhang, 2004. "Accounting for Human Capital and Weak Identification in Evaluating the Esptein-Zin-Weil Non-Expected Utility Model of Asset Pricing," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-289, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    17. Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis, 2010. "Consumo no Brasil: Comportamento Otimizador, Restrição de Crédito ou Miopia?," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil), vol. 64(3), September.
    18. Boldrin, Michele & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 1995. "Asset pricing lessons for modeling business cycles," UC3M Working papers. Economics 3915, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    19. Fábio Gomes & Lourenço Paz, 2015. "Large estimates of the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: is it the aggregate return series or the instrument list?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 168-181.
    20. Issler, João Victor & Piqueira, Natalia Scotto, 2000. "Estimating Relative Risk Aversion, the Discount Rate, and the Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution in Consumption for Brazil Using Three Types of Utility Function," Brazilian Review of Econometrics, Sociedade Brasileira de Econometria - SBE, vol. 20(2), November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J19 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Other

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11405. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.