Coronavirus Epidemic Has Implications for Life Expectancy
Credit: China.orgBy James LiangBEIJING, China, Feb 17 2020 (IPS) As efforts to contain the Coronavirus epidemic enter a critical stage, it is important to remember that the costs cannot be measured purely in economic terms, as the measures taken will have implications for life expectancy across the entire nation. Analysis of historical data from various countries gives insight into the relationship between life expectancy and GDP per capita. In the first place, it is clear that countries with higher per capita incomes have longer life expectancies, owing to the ability and willingness of wealthier nations to invest in healthcare, infrastructure, and environmental governance, thereby increasing life expectancy and reducing fatality rates. Research suggests that, in general, a 100% increase in per capita income under similar conditions equates to an increase in life expectancy of 1-3 years. Over the past few decades, with the continued increase in per capita income in China, life expectancy has steadily increased in tandem. On the basis of this, we can make a conservative estimate that a 50% decrease in GDP would see a 1.5 year decrease in life expectancy. Thus, for each 1% reduction in in GDP, life expectancy will decrease by approximately 10 days. This hypothesis can be tested against the economic theory of the “value of life”. In the realm of economics, “value of life” is a relatively mature concept which refers to the amount that a society is wil...
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