The effect of economic development on population health: a review of the empirical evidence.

Economic growth is considered an important determinant of population health. Relevant studies investigating the effect of economic growth on health outcomes were identified from Google Scholar and PubMed searches in economics and medical journals. The empirical evidence on the aggregate effect of economic growth on population health is rather mixed and inconclusive. The causal pathways from economic growth to population health are crucial and failure or success in completing the pathways explains differences in empirical findings.

Future research should investigate how additional resources can more effectively reach those in need and how additional resources can be used more efficiently. It is particularly relevant to understand why preventive health care in developing countries is very price elastic whereas curative health care is very health inelastic and how this understanding can inform public health policy.