Comparative Life Expectancy in Africa

17 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by F. Desmond McCarthy

F. Desmond McCarthy

World Bank

Holger C. Wolf

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Date Written: August 2001

Abstract

August 2001 Health outcomes are positively correlated with income, but the link is far from uniform. The key variables associated with good health outcomes (controlling for health expenditures) are access rates - to health services, to clean water and sanitation, and to education, particularly for women.

For health outcomes, is poverty destiny? McCarthy and Wolf explore this question for life expectancy in Africa, where health outcomes are positively correlated with income, but where the link is far from uniform. The key variables associated with good health outcomes (controlling for health expenditures) are access rates - to health services, to clean water and sanitation, and to education, particularly for women.

Health expenditure, either as percentage of GNP or per capita, is not a good predictor of health outcomes (endogeneity aside). The tenuous link among health expenditures, health service outputs, and health outcomes suggests marked differences in the mapping from spending to services and from services to outcomes. While few conclusions can be drawn on the aggregate level, the patterns raise questions about what share of public expenditure should be devoted to preventive as opposed to curative measures, and the relative importance of sanitation infrastructure versus traditional health care.

This paper - a product of Public Service Delivery, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to study the health-environment-economy nexus. The study was funded by the Bank's Research Support Budget under the research project "Health, Environment, and the Economy" (RPO 683-73). The authors may be contacted at fmccarthy@worldbank.org or hwolf@gwu.edu.

Suggested Citation

McCarthy, F. Desmond and Wolf, Holger C., Comparative Life Expectancy in Africa (August 2001). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2668. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=632736

F. Desmond McCarthy (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Holger C. Wolf

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-8079 (Phone)
202-687-8359 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://georgetown.edu/faculty/wolfhc/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
104
Abstract Views
1,855
rank
256,484
PlumX Metrics