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Irving Fisher and the Contribution of Improved Longevity to Living Standards

William D. Nordhaus
The American Journal of Economics and Sociology
Vol. 64, No. 1, Special Invited Issue: Celebrating Irving Fisher: The Legacy of a Great Economist (Jan., 2005), pp. 367-392
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3488135
Page Count: 26
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Irving Fisher and the Contribution of Improved Longevity to Living Standards
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Abstract

It is not widely recognized that conventional measures of national income and output exclude the value of improvements in the health status of the population. The present study discusses the theory of the measurement of national income, proposes a new concept called "health income" that can be used to incorporate improvements in health status, and applies the theory to data for the United States over the 20th century. It concludes that accounting for improvements in the health status would, over the twentieth century in the United States, make a substantial difference to our measures of economic welfare.

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