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When does improving health raise GDP?

Author: Quamrul Ashraf; Ashley Lester; David N Weil; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2008.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14449.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We assess quantitatively the effect of exogenous health improvements on output per capita. Our simulation model allows for a direct effect of health on worker productivity, as well as indirect effects that run through schooling, the size and age-structure of the population, capital accumulation, and crowding of fixed natural resources. The model is parameterized using a combination of microeconomic estimates, data  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Quamrul Ashraf; Ashley Lester; David N Weil; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 268652054
Notes: "October 2008."
Description: 1 online resource (44 pages) : illustrations, digital.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14449.
Responsibility: Quamrul H. Ashraf, Ashley Lester, David N. Weil.

Abstract:

We assess quantitatively the effect of exogenous health improvements on output per capita. Our simulation model allows for a direct effect of health on worker productivity, as well as indirect effects that run through schooling, the size and age-structure of the population, capital accumulation, and crowding of fixed natural resources. The model is parameterized using a combination of microeconomic estimates, data on demographics, disease burdens, and natural resource income in developing countries, and standard components of quantitative macroeconomic theory. We consider both changes in general health, proxied by improvements in life expectancy, and changes in the prevalence of two particular diseases: malaria and tuberculosis. We find that the effects of health improvements on income per capita are substantially lower than those that are often quoted by policy-makers, and may not emerge at all for three decades or more after the initial improvement in health. The results suggest that proponents of efforts to improve health in developing countries should rely on humanitarian rather than economic arguments.

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