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When does improving health raise GDP?

Quamrul Ashraf, Brown University
Ashley Lester, Brown University
David N. Weil, Brown University

We assess quantitatively the effect of exogenous health improvements on output, through demographic channels and changes in worker productivity. We consider both changes in general health, proxied by changes in life expectancy, and changes in the prevalence of particular diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis. In general, we find that the effects of health improvements on income are substantially lower than those that are often quoted by policy-makers, and may not emerge at all for half a century or more after the initial improvement in health

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Presented in Session 64: Measuring the burden of disease