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Long-Run Macroeconomic Determinants of Cancer Incidence
Pages 275-288
Fabrizio Ferretti, Simon Jones and Bryan McIntosh
Published: 31 October 2013

Abstract: Background: Understanding how cancer incidence evolves during economic growth is useful for forecasting the economic impact of cancerous diseases, and for governing the process of resources allocation in planning health services. We analyse the relationship between economic growth and cancer incidence in order to describe and measure the influence of an increasing real per capita income on the overall rate of cancer incidence.

Method:We test the relationship between real per capita income and the overall rate of cancer incidence with a cross-sectional analysis, using data from the World Bank and the World Health Organization databases, for 165 countries in 2008. We measure the elasticity of cancer incidence with respect to per capita income, and we decompose the elasticities coefficients into two components: age-effect and lifestyle-effect.

Results: An Engel’s model, in a double-log quadratic specification, explains about half of the variations in the age-standardised rates and nearly two thirds of the variations in the incidence crude rates. All the elasticities of the crude rates are positive, but less than one. The income elasticity of the age-standardised rates are negative in lower income countries, and positive (around 0.25 and 0.32) in upper middle and high income countries, respectively.

Conclusions:These results are used to develop a basic framework in order to explain how demand-side economic structural changes may affect the long run evolution of cancer incidence. At theoretical level, a J-Curve is a possible general model to represents, other things being equal, how economic growth influence cancer incidence.

Keywords: Cancer Incidence, Economic Growth, Engel’s function, Income elasticity, Structural Change.
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