The Net Effect of Wealth on Health for Non-Communicable Diseases
MetadataShow full item record
The wealth–health relationship is not unambiguous and constant. Indeed, a higher level of wealth affects individual and population health in two opposite ways. Increased risk factors raise the probability of some diseases especially non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Conversely, better healthcare and awareness reduce the chances of developing these diseases or raise the likelihood of treatment and cure. Therefore, the overall impact on health or the ‘net effect’ of wealth (positive or negative) may be challenging to determine. Moreover, this effect may not be fixed for different income groups. Thus, it states to reason that there may exist an ‘affluence point’ changing the predominant impact of wealth (positive/negative), which we will refer to as the ‘health economic threshold’. This paper aims to assess and quantify the hard-to-grasp overall impact of prosperity on the mortality of selected NCDs in European regions. In particular, we attempt to estimate both the net effect of affluence and the health economic threshold of GDP-mortality relationship, by developing a dedicated analytical tool. The original idea is based on joinpoint regression and forecasting methods. To our knowledge, no such study has been performed in health economics. Our results show that in the case of most investigated diseases in more impoverished regions, mortality rises with prosperity. After crossing the health economic threshold of around 20 thousand euros per capita, the trend changes (it stabilises or reverses).