The literature evaluating population and health policies is in flux, with many disciplines exploring biological and behavioral linkages from fetal development to chronic disease, disability, and late life mortality. The focus here is on research methods, findings, and questions that economists can clarify regarding the causal relationships between economic development, health outcomes, and reproductive behavior, which operate in many directions. The connection between conditions under which people live and their expected life span and health status refer to “health production functions”. The relationships between an individual’s stock of health and productivity, well being, and life span encompasses the “returns to health human capital”. The control of reproduction improves the well being of women, the economic opportunities of her offspring, and slows population growth. Evaluation of policy interventions is more than a question of technological efficiency, but also involves the behavioral responsiveness of individuals, families, social networks, and communities.
Health, Fertility and Family Planning, Biology of Health Human Capital, Economic Development
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