Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth

Brown University Economic Working Paper No. 2005-07

59 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2005

See all articles by David N. Weil

David N. Weil

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 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 use a variety of methods to construct estimates of the return to health, which I combine with cross-country and historical data on several health indicators including height, adult survival, and age at menarche. My preferred estimate of the share of cross-country variance in log income per worker explained by variation in health is 22.6%, roughly the same as the share accounted for by human capital from education, and larger than the share accounted for by physical capital. I present alternative estimates ranging between 9.5% and 29.5%. My preferred estimate of the reduction in world income variance that would result from eliminating health variations among countries is 36.6%.

Suggested Citation

Weil, David Nathan, Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth (June 2005). Brown University Economic Working Paper No. 2005-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=764484 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.764484

David Nathan Weil (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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