Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status
AbstractThis paper sketches theoretical reasons why health may alter household savings and provides evidence on the empirical impact of health shocks on household wealth. The impacts on saving are quantitatively large and only partly explained by increased out-of-pocket medical expenses. Other contributing factors include reduced earnings and a revision in life expectancy. The author also delves into reasons why economic status, access to medical care, and deleterious personal behaviors have been rejected as insufficient explanations. New theories emphasize long-term impacts of early childhood or even intrauterine factors, cumulative effects of prolonged exposures to stress, or reactions of macrosocietal factors like rising levels of income inequality.
CitationSmith, James, P. 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 13 (2): 145-166. DOI: 10.1257/jep.13.2.145
- I12 Health Production
- I11 Analysis of Health Care Markets