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Economic growth is good for your health, concludes an MEI study

  • There is a positive relation between life expectancy and average per capita income.
  • There is a strong connection between high incomes and the ability to invest in biopharmaceutical innovation.

Montreal, April 27, 2023 – There is a connection between economic growth and increased life expectancy, concludes a study published by the Montreal Economic Institute this morning.

“There is a very clear link between a country’s income per capita and the life expectancy of its inhabitants,” says Vincent Geloso, Senior Economist at the MEI and author of the study. “With some people calling for ‘degrowth,’ it’s worth remembering that a wealthier world is a healthier world.”

The author notes a particularly strong relationship between economic growth and declines in the mortality rate in countries where living standards and life expectancy are low, which means that growth improves health even more in poorer countries.

One key factor in this relation is biopharmaceutical innovation, notes the publication. The higher per capita income is, the more it is possible to invest in the development of new treatments and drugs, which in turn enable us to live longer, healthier lives.

The author notably cites one study that looked at increases in life expectancy in 52 countries between 1986 and 2000. This study found that 40% of life expectancy gains over that period were attributable to the launch of new medications.

Hence the importance of the link between a country’s prosperity and its ability to invest in biopharmaceutical innovation.

“The richer an economy is, the more investment there is in research, and the more discoveries there tend to be that allow us to live better, longer lives,” says Mr. Geloso. “It is very clear that a prosperous, growing economy is good for your health.”

You can consult the MEI publication here.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship. 

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