Health, human capital formation and knowledge production: Two centuries of international evidence

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Recent medical research shows that health is highly influential on learning and the ability to think laterally; however, past economic studies have failed to empirically examine the influence of health on learning, schooling, and ideas production, the main drivers of growth in endogenous growth models. This paper constructs a measure of health-adjusted educational attainment among the working age population based on their health status during the time they obtained their education. Using annual data for 21 OECD countries over the past two centuries, it is shown that health has been highly influential on the quantity and quality of schooling, innovation, and growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-953
Number of pages45
JournalMacroeconomic Dynamics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Ideas Production
  • Learning
  • Productivity Growth
  • Schooling

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