Some Economic Aspects of Mortality in Developed Countries
Three types of data — cross-section within countries, cross-section among countries, and some time series — reveal that the traditional negative association between mortality and income per capita is disappearing in developed countries. The marginal contribution of medical care to life expectancy, holding the state of the art constant, is also very small. Improvements in medical science (primarily new drugs), however, have had significant effects during the period 1930–60.
Current differences in mortality across, and within, developed countries are primarily related to ‘life-style’ — diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, psychological stress, etc. The ‘demand’ for a long life, and the ability to ‘produce’ it, differ greatly among individuals and populations. A major research task is to gain a better understanding of these demand and production functions.
KeywordsInfant Mortality Income Elasticity Marginal Contribution Mortality Differential Demand Generation
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