NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth

David N. Weil

NBER Working Paper No. 11455
Issued in July 2005
NBER Program(s):   EFG   HE

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.

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This paper was revised on January 29, 2007

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11455

Published: David N. Weil, 2007. "Accounting for The Effect of Health on Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1265-1306, 08.

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