Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth

60 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2006 Last revised: 22 Mar 2010

See all articles by David N. Weil

David N. Weil

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

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Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

I use microeconomic estimates of the effect of health on individual outcomes to construct macroeconomic estimates of the proximate effect of health on GDP per capita. I employ avariety of methods to construct estimates of the return to health, which I combine with cross-country and historical data on height, adult survival rates, and age at menarche. Using my preferred estimate, eliminating health differences among countries would reduce the variance oflog GDP per worker by 9.9 percent, and reduce the ratio of GDP per worker at the 90th percentileto GDP per worker at the 10th percentile from 20.5 to 17.9. While this effect is economically significant, it is also substantially smaller than estimates of the effect of health on economic growth that are derived from cross-country regressions.

Suggested Citation

Weil, David Nathan, Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth (July 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11455. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=755692

David Nathan Weil (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

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