Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The development of nations conditions the disease space

Garas, Antonios and Guthmuller, Sophie and Lapatinas, Athanasios (2019): The development of nations conditions the disease space.

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Abstract

Using the economic complexity methodology on data for disease prevalence in 195 countries during the period of 1990-2016, we propose two new metrics for quantifying the relatedness between diseases, or the ‘disease space’ of countries. With these metrics, we analyze the geography of diseases and empirically investigate the effect of economic development on the health complexity of countries. We show that a higher income per capita increases the complexity of countries’ diseases. Furthermore, we build a disease-level index that links a disease to the average level of GDP per capita of the countries that have prevalent cases of the disease. With this index, we highlight the link between economic development and the complexity of diseases and illustrate, at the disease-level, how increases in income per capita are associated with more complex diseases.

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