Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=416264
 
 

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Secular Trends in Physiological Capital: Implications for Equity in Health Care


Robert W. Fogel


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

June 2003

NBER Working Paper No. w9771

Abstract:     
Over the past three centuries there has been a rapid accumulation of physiological capital in OECD countries. Enhanced physiological capital is tied to long-term reduction in environmental hazards and to the conquest of chronic malnutrition. Data on heights and birth weights suggests that physiological capital has become more equally distributed, thereby reducing socioeconomic disparities in the burden of disease. Implications for health care policy are: (1) enhanced physiological capital has done more to reduce inequities in health status than has wider access to health care; (2) the main contribution of more advanced medical treatment so far has been to retard depreciation in individuals' physiological capital; (3) prenatal and early childhood care and environmental issues are key for interventions aimed at enhancing physiological capital and at affecting its rate of depreciation; (4) lifestyle change is the most important issue affecting health equity in rich countries; and (5) greater access to clinical care should be promoted through aggressive outreach, since expanded insurance coverage by itself is inadequate.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

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Date posted: June 15, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Fogel , Robert W., Secular Trends in Physiological Capital: Implications for Equity in Health Care (June 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9771. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=416264

Contact Information

Robert W. Fogel (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
1101 East 58th Street
Center for Population Economics
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-7709 (Phone)
773-702-2901 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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