Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2006:4: Health as a factor in regional economic development

Bo Malmberg () and Eva Andersson
Additional contact information
Bo Malmberg: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Eva Andersson: Institute for Housing and Urban Research (IBF), Postal: Uppsala universitet, Box 785, 801 29 Gävle, Sweden

Abstract: Is health a forgotten factor in regional economic development? The health or ill health of the European workforce is a crucial issue as the share of old age people as well as the mean age increases. A second reason for this paper is the increased interest in the relation between health and productivity of businesses. Ill health might in this respect be a factor of severe disadvantage for regions to improve their economic performance. A third motive is policy considerations; policies directed to reduce ill health could be considered as an important tool in regional development. In order to explore health as a factor for regional economic development in Sweden we used regional as well as micro level data. The results consistently highlight health as an important determinant of regional economic performance. It is first revealed through a strong correlation in regional data between health levels and economic performance. Healthy municipalities generally have a stronger local economy than those characterised by ill health. In addition a negative effect of ill health is demonstrated in Swedish micro data. In case of sickness in our control group, both the individuals themselves, their spouses, children and colleagues are negatively affected.

Keywords: health; regional economic development; Sweden; sickness benefit; unemployment

JEL-codes: I10; R11; R13

34 pages, April 2006

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN 1652-120X; ISBN 13:978-91-89655-87-4; ISBN 10:91-89655-87-7

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