Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=302579
 
 

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The Health of Nations: The Contribution of Improved Health to Living Standards


William D. Nordhaus


Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

February 2002

NBER Working Paper No. w8818

Abstract:     
Nations generally measure their economic performance using the yardstick of national output and income. It is not widely recognized, however, that conventional measures of national income and output exclude the value of improvements in the health status of the population. The present study develops a methodology and presents preliminary estimates of how standard economic measures would change if they adequately reflected improvements in health status. The study first discusses the theory of the measurement of national income, examines some of the shortcomings of traditional concepts, and proposes a new concept called 'health income' that can be used to incorporate improvements in health status. The study next discusses how the proposed measure fits into existing theories for measuring and valuing consumption and health status. The study applies the new concepts to data for the United States over the twentieth century and concludes that accounting for improvements in the health status would substantially increase the estimated improvement in economic welfare for the U.S. over the twentieth century.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 61

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Date posted: February 28, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Nordhaus, William D., The Health of Nations: The Contribution of Improved Health to Living Standards (February 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8818. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=302579

Contact Information

William D. Nordhaus (Contact Author)
Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )
28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
203-432-3598 (Phone)
203-432-5779 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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