WIDER Annual Lecture 10
Global Patterns of Income and Health

Facts, Interpretations, and Policies

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.The 10th WIDER Annual Lecture was given by Professor Angus Deaton in Helsinki on 29 September 2006, under the title ‘Global Patterns of Income and Health: Facts, Interpretations, and Policies’.