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People in poor countries live shorter lives than people in rich countries so that, if we take income and health together, there is more inequality in the world than if we
consider income alone. Yet international inequalities in life expectancy decreased for many years after 1945, and the strong correlation between income and life-expectancy might lead us to hope that economic growth will improve people’s health as well as their material living conditions. The lecture argues that the apparent convergence in life expectancies is not as beneficial as might appear, and that, while economic growth is the key to poverty reduction, there is no evidence that it will deliver automatic health improvements in the absence of appropriate policy.
Angus Deaton is Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. His main fields of interest are health, both international and domestic, and economic development. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, of the Econometric Society, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as former Vice President of the American Economic Association. He is the author or co-author of several books, including Economics and Consumer Behavior and The Analysis of Household Surveys, as well as many papers
in professional journals.