A simple framework for analysing the impact of economic growth on non-communicable diseases
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KeywordsEconomic growth; Engel's functions; Health production function; Non-communicable diseases; Social determinants of health
Permissions(c) 2015 Author(s). This is an Open Access article licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are currently the leading cause of death worldwide. In this paper, we examine the channels through which economic growth affects NCDs’ epidemiology. Following a production function approach, we develop a basic technique to break up the impact of economic growth on NCDs into three fundamental components: (1) a resource effect; (2) a behaviour effect; and (3) a knowledge effect. We demonstrate that each of these effects can be measured as the product of two elasticities, the output and income elasticity of the three leading factors influencing the frequency of NCDs in any population: health care, healthrelated behaviours and lifestyle, and medical knowledge.