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Public Capital, Growth and WelfareAnalytical Foundations for Public Policy$
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Pierre-Richard Agénor

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155807

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155807.001.0001

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Public Capital and Health

Public Capital and Health

(p.72) 3 Public Capital and Health
Public Capital, Growth and Welfare

Pierre-Richard Agénor

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines interactions among public capital, health, and economic growth, using both two- and three-period Allais–Samuelson Overlapping Generations models. The first model dwells on the large body of evidence that suggests that access to infrastructure may be critical to improving health outcomes. The second accounts, in addition, for the fact that there is persistence in health outcomes between childhood and adulthood, the first two stages of life. This creates the possibility that public capital may affect health in ways that are different than commonly thought: if, for instance, greater access to infrastructure services allows parents to devote more time to child rearing, and if children's health depends positively on parental time, their productivity and earnings in adulthood will also be affected. In effect, this analysis shows that time allocated to child rearing, which is often considered as unproductive in growth models, may turn out to be a critical channel through which public capital affects growth. The chapter concludes by noting that interactions between health and education, which are well documented, may serve to magnify the effect of public capital on growth and human welfare.

Keywords:   Allais–Samuelson Overlapping, public capital, health, economic growth, child rearing, education

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