Battling Infection, Fighting Stagnation
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Why are some countries mired in poverty and ill health? Can policy facilitate their transition to sustained growth and better living standards? We offer answers using a dynamic model of disease and development. Endogenous transmission of infectious disease generates non-ergodic growth where income alone cannot push a country out of a low-growth development trap. Policy interventions, for example external aid, can successfully accelerate growth only when directed towards improving health and eliminating the burden of infectious disease. Prioritizing improvements to adult mortality over morbidity is better for development.