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Abstract

In March 2000, the European Union�s Heads of State or Government came together to agree the ambitious goal of making the European Union �the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion�. They highlighted the need to: create a knowledge-based economy and society, accelerating the process of structural reform for competitiveness and innovation; modernise the European social model, by investing in people and combating social exclusion; and sustain favourable growth prospects by means of an appropriate macroeconomic policy mix.
The relationship between health and the economy is one of the cornerstones of this agenda. Yet this relationship is complex. While it has long been recognised that increased national wealth is associated with improved health, it is only more recently that the contribution of better health to economic growth has been recognised. Yet while this relationship is now well established in low income countries, the evidence from high-income countries, such as the Member States of the European Union, has been more fragmented. The authors of this important book have, for the first time, brought this evidence together. Having confirmed the high cost falling on Europe�s economies as a result of illness, they assemble a wealth of evidence to demonstrate how good health promotes earnings and labour supply. Of particular relevance to Europe, with its ageing population, they show how poor health increases the likelihood of early retirement. Taken together, this evidence provides a powerful argument for European governments to invest in the health of their populations, not only because better health is a desirable objective in its own right, but also because it is an important determinant of economic growth and competitiveness.

Additional information

Authors: SUHRCKE M, European Commission, DG Health and Consumer Protection, Brussels (BE);MCKEE M, European Commission, DG Health and Consumer Protection, Brussels (BE);SAUTO ARCE R, European Commission, DG Health and Consumer Protection, Brussels (BE);TSOLOVA S, European Commission, DG Health and Consumer Protection, Brussels (BE);MORTENSEN J, European Commission, DG Health and Consumer Protection, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005. 134 pp, free of charge
Availability: Katalogue Number: ND-68-05-680-EN-C The paper version can be ordered online and the PDF version downloaded at: http://bookshop.europa.eu
ISBN: ISBN 92-894-9829-3
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