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Health, Human Capital Formation and Knowledge Production: Two Centuries of International Evidence


  • Jakob Madsen


Recent medical research shows that health is highly influential for learning and the ability to think laterally; however, past economic studies have failed to empirically examine the influence of health on learning, schooling, and ideas production; the main drivers of growth in endogenous growth models. This paper constructs a measure of health-adjusted educational attainment among the working age population based on their health status during the time they did their education. Using annual data for 21 OECD countries over the past two centuries it is shown that health has been highly influential for the quantity and quality of schooling, innovations and growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakob Madsen, 2012. "Health, Human Capital Formation and Knowledge Production: Two Centuries of International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 18461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18461
    Note: HE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2011. "Life expectancy and economic growth: the role of the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 99-133, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Neves & Tiago Sequeira, 2017. "The Production of Knowledge: A Meta-Regression Analysis," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2017_03, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).

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    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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