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Wealthier is healthier

  • Pritchett, Lant
  • Summers, Lawrence H.

With cross-country, time series data on health (infant and child mortality, and life expectancy) and per capita income, the authors estimate the effect of income on health. They use instrumental variables estimation to identify the effect of income on health that is structural and causal, isolated from reverse causation (healthier workers are more productive and hence wealthier) or incidental association (some other factor may cause both better health and greater wealth). The long-run income elasticity of infant and child mortality in developing countries lies between 0.2 and 0.4. Using those estimates, they calculate that in 1990 alone, more than half a million child deaths in the developing world could be attributed to poor economic performance in the 1980s.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1150.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 1993
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1150
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  1. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  2. Robert William Fogel, 1990. "The Conquest of High Mortality and Hunger in Europe and America: Timing and Mechanisms," NBER Historical Working Papers 0016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
  4. MacKinnon, James G. & White, Halbert, 1985. "Some heteroskedasticity-consistent covariance matrix estimators with improved finite sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 305-325, September.
  5. Haggblade, Steven & Hazell, Peter B. & Brown, James, 1988. "Farm-nonfarm linkages in rural sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6, The World Bank.
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 1990. "Income Effects on Undernutrition," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(3), pages 489-515, April.
  7. Bos, Eduard & Vu, My T. & Stephens, Patience W., 1992. "Sources of World Bank estimates of current mortality rates," Policy Research Working Paper Series 851, The World Bank.
  8. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John & Henriques, Maria-Helena, 1990. "Child survival, height for age and household characteristics in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 197-234, October.
  9. Sudhir Anand & Martin Ravallion, 1993. "Human Development in Poor Countries: On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 133-150, Winter.
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