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Abstract

This paper establishes the econometric underpinning of an aggregate household health production function and an aggregate household health supply function for developed countries. The conceptual model builds on productive household models for health. A pooled time series cross sectional model of obesity-related mortality is fitted to annual data for 18 high income countries over 1971-2001. In the health production function, we show that obesity-related mortality is related to diet, socialized medicine, and trend dominated factors such as medical knowledge and technology. In the health supply function, we show that cheap food increases obesity-related mortality and a modest level of socialized medicine reduces it. The results for labor market variables imply that individuals who are in the labor force burn more calories in their daily activities than do those who do not work in the market and have lower obesity-related mortality.

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