Health capital and regional development. A panel data approach
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The recent studies of economic growth have shown increasing interest in the potential economic profits that improved health condition of populations could bring. The World Health Organization’s reports Macroeconomics and Health: Investing in Health for Economic Development of 2001 and The Contribution of Health to the Economy in the European Union of 2005 significantly contributed to the promotion of health as a factor of economic growth. Both of them suggest that investing in health as a vehicle of economic growth is necessary not only in countries at a low level of economic development, but also in the developed ones. This recommendation arises from the fact that education and health are one of the basic determinants of the quality of human capital. On a micro scale, health is treated as a prerequisite for personal development, enabling the achievement of a satisfactory economic status. In terms of the entire economy, the beneficial influence of good health can manifest itself thorough growing productivity of labour, lower costs of absenteeism caused by sick leaves, and limited costs of medical interventions that altogether may improve social well-being and reduce poverty. Variations in economic results caused by health inequalities can be analysed for the entire economy, a region or with respect to individuals. The presented investigation aimed to verify a hypothesis, according to which the health condition of the regional population can be one of the factors determining regional development. The investigation used a panel sample comprising particular voivodeships as they were between 1999 and 2008. Application of dynamic panel data models allowed identifying a relationship between different health indicators and GDP variations.
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