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Dow, William H.; Philipson, Tomas J.; & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier (1999). Longevity Complementarities under Competing Risks. American Economic Review, 89(5), 1358-1371.


Many of the high-expenditure health programs established by international organizations or national and subnational governments involve disease-specific interventions, such as measles vaccinations, HIV education programs, mammogram screening, malaria prevention, and lung cancer research. Typically, these programs are evaluated solely upon the success or failure of their impact on the targeted disease. This paper argues that such an exclusive evaluation may significantly underestimate the overall effect of disease-specific interventions when multiple risks act as competing forces on life. We suggest that programs that target one disease may have important spillover effects on the mortality and morbidity of other causes of death. In order to better understand and evaluate the overall effects of disease-specific programs, it is necessary to understand and measure these spillover effects.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Economic Review


Dow, William H.
Philipson, Tomas J.
Sala-i-Martin, Xavier