Does the AIDS Epidemic Really Threaten Economic Growth?
David E. Bloom, Ajay S. Mahal
This study examines the claim that the AIDS epidemic will slow the pace of economic growth. We do this by examining the association, across fifty-one developing and industrial countries for which we were able to assemble data, between changes in the prevalence of AIDS and the rate of growth of GDP per capita. Our analysis uses well- established empirical growth models to control for a variety of factors possibly correlated with AIDS prevalence that might also influence growth. We also account for possible simultaneity in the relationship between AIDS and economic growth. Our main finding is that the AIDS epidemic has had an insignificant effect on the growth rate of per capita income, with no evidence of reverse causality. We also find evidence that the insignificant effect of AIDS on income per capita is qualitatively similar to an insignificant effect on wages of the Black Death in England and France during the Middle Ages and an insignificant effect on output per capita of influenza in India during 1918-19.
Published: JE, Vol. 77, no. 1 (March 1997): 105-124.