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The Economic Case for Devoting Public Resources to Health

David Bloom and Günther Fink ()
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Günther Fink: Harvard School of Public Health

No 57, IZA Policy Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: The world has enjoyed huge improvements in population health during the last half century. But major health problems persist, particularly in tropical countries, which are still struggling with infectious diseases while increasingly having to deal with noncommunicable diseases. Several classic arguments for public spending on health have buttressed governments' efforts to improve health. These efforts have now been further spurred by new economic arguments that better population health may promote economic well-being – via beneficial changes in labor productivity, education, and investment, and through demographic change. The economic consequences of improved health can be large, but realizing them depends on the policies adopted in myriad other arenas.

Keywords: investment in health; labor productivity; education; demographic change; health gaps (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I15 I14 I18 H51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
Date: 2013-05
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