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A contribution to the health-growth empirics on Africa

Taiwo, Kayode (2018): A contribution to the health-growth empirics on Africa. Published in: Akungba Journal of Economic Thought , Vol. 12, No. 1 (2020): pp. 43-55.

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Abstract

Africa faces significant health-related challenges due to the high level of morbidity in the continent. These challenges ruin productivity and hinder economic growth. This paper investigates the effect of health on economic growth using two health variables: life expectancy and infant mortality. The study covers the period 1975 to 2015 and uses both cross-sectional and panel regressions in econometric estimation. Under both methods of estimation, the study establishes a conditional convergence for African economies. The health variables have statistically significant effects on economic growth under both static and dynamic panel regressions, though we emphasise the results obtained under the dynamic panel method. The results indicate raising life expectancy can significantly spur growth, while infant mortality can slow down economic growth. Our results suggest that countries in the North-African subregion do not enjoy higher growth on account of health. On the policy side, this study suggests that governments in Africa should invest more in health to improve economic growth.

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