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Health and the Economy in the United States, from 1750 to the Present

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  • Dora Costa

Abstract

I discuss the health transition in the United States, bringing new data to bear on health indicators, and investigating the changing relationship between health, income, and the environment. I argue that scientific advances played an outsize role and that health improvements were largest among the poor. Health improvements were not a precondition for modern economic growth. The gains to health are largest when the economy has moved from "brawn" to "brains" because this is when the wage returns to education are high, leading the healthy to obtain more education. More education may improve use of health knowledge, producing a virtuous cycle.

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  • Dora Costa, 2013. "Health and the Economy in the United States, from 1750 to the Present," NBER Working Papers 19685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19685
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Krugman on Gordon: Both Need to Re-Read Dixit and Stiglitz
      by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2016-01-25 21:53:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Hoque,Mohammad Mainul & King,Elizabeth M. & Montenegro,Claudio E. & Orazem,Peter F., 2017. "Longevity and lifetime education : global evidence from 919 surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8175, The World Bank.
    2. W. Walker Hanlon, 2015. "Pollution and Mortality in the 19th Century," NBER Working Papers 21647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dora L. Costa & Heather DeSomer & Eric Hanss & Christopher Roudiez & Sven E. Wilson & Noelle Yetter, 2017. "Union Army veterans, all grown up," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(2), pages 79-95, April.
    4. Daniel Gallardo Albarr‡n, 2017. "Missed opportunities? The development of human welfare in Western Europe, 1913-1950," Working Papers 0114, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    5. Hübler, Olaf, 2017. "Health and Body Mass Index: No Simple Relationship," IZA Discussion Papers 10620, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Hyclak, Thomas J. & Skeels, Christopher L. & Taylor, Larry W., 2016. "The cardiovascular revolution and economic performance in the OECD countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 114-125.
    7. Andrei Markevich & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2017. "The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire," Working Papers w0237, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    8. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:96-111 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Lauren Hoehn Velasco, 2016. "Explaining Declines in US Rural Mortality, 1910-1933: The Role of County Health Departments," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 919, Boston College Department of Economics.
    10. Schneider, Eric B., 2017. "Fetal health stagnation: Have health conditions in utero improved in the United States and Western and Northern Europe over the past 150 years?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 18-26.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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