The macroeconomic burden of noncommunicable diseases in the United States: Estimates and projections

Husain, Muhammad Jami and Chen, Simiao and Kuhn, Michael and Prettner, Klaus and Bloom, David E. (2018) The macroeconomic burden of noncommunicable diseases in the United States: Estimates and projections. PLoS ONE, 13 (11). e0206702. ISSN 1932-6203

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We develop and calibrate a dynamic production function model to assess how noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) will affect U.S. productive capacity in 2015-2050. In this framework, aggregate output is produced according to a human capital-augmented production function that accounts for the effects of projected disease prevalence. NCDs influence the economy through the following pathways: 1) when working-age individuals die of a disease, aggregate output undergoes a direct loss because physical capital can only partially substitute for the loss of human capital in the production process. 2) If working-age individuals suffer from a disease but do not die from it, then, depending on the condition's severity, they tend to be less productive, might work less, or might retire earlier. 3) Current NCD interventions such as medical treatments and prevention require substantial resources. Part of these resources could otherwise be used for productive investments in infrastructure, education, or research and development. This implies a loss of savings across the population and hampers economy-wide physical capital accumulation. Our results indicate a total loss of USD94.9 trillion (in constant 2010 USD) due to all NCDs. Mental health conditions and cardiovascular diseases impose the highest burdens, followed by cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. In per capita terms, the economic burden of all NCDs in 2015- 2050 is USD265,000. The total NCD burden roughly corresponds to an annual tax rate of 10.8% on aggregate income.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Research reported in this paper was supported by the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, under award numbers P30AG024409 and R01AG048037. This research was also made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik > Demographie > Wittgenstein Centre
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2019 12:37
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2019 12:43
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