How Much of Cross-Country Income Variation is Explained by Health?

Brown University, Economics Working Paper No. 03-08

13 Pages Posted: 29 May 2003

See all articles by David N. Weil

David N. Weil

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

Gauri Kartini Shastry

Harvard University

Date Written: September 24, 2002

Abstract

We use development accounting techniques to assess the contribution of health to differences in income per capita among countries. Rather than rely on regressions in aggregate data, we build up estimates of the effect of health starting from microeconomic data. We examine both a particular condition, anemia, and a proxy for general health, the adult survival rate. We find that differences in anemia explain 1.3% of the log variance of income per capita, and that differences in adult survival explain 19% of the log variance of income per capita. The latter figure is almost one-third of the variation in output that is left unexplained by other measures of factor accumulation.

Suggested Citation

Weil, David Nathan and Shastry, Gauri Kartini, How Much of Cross-Country Income Variation is Explained by Health? (September 24, 2002). Brown University, Economics Working Paper No. 03-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=399760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.399760

David Nathan Weil (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box B
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-1754 (Phone)
401-863-1970 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gauri Kartini Shastry

Harvard University ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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