Association between Economic Growth, Mortality, and Healthcare Spending in 31 High-Income Countries

Forum Health Econ Policy. 2022 Oct 19;24(2):101-118. doi: 10.1515/fhep-2021-0035. eCollection 2021 Dec 1.


This study aims to investigate the association between gross domestic product (GDP), mortality rate (MR) and current healthcare expenditure (CHE) in 31 high-income countries. We used panel data from 2000 to 2017 collected from WHO and OECD databases. The association between CHE, GDP and MR was investigated through a random-effects model. To control for reverse causality, we adopted a test of Granger causality. The model shows that the MR has a statistically significant and negative effect on CHE and that an increase in GDP is associated with an increase of CHE (p < 0.001). The Granger causality analysis shows that all the variables exhibit a bidirectional causality. We found a two-way relationship between GDP and CHE. Our analysis highlights the economic multiplier effect of CHE. In the debate on the optimal allocation of resources, this evidence should be taken into due consideration.

Keywords: GDP; health spending; healthcare expenditure; high-income countries; mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Developed Countries
  • Economic Development*
  • Gross Domestic Product
  • Income*