Economic Consequences of Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries in the Russian Federation




There is increasing evidence of the two-way relationship between health and economic growth: while economic development can lead to improved population health, a healthier population can also drive economic growth. Although this finding has important policy implications, little is known about its direct relevance for the “transition” countries in central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States that are facing a very particular health challenge, predominantly posed by noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and injuries.

This study takes a first step towards analysing the issue. The focus is on the Russian Federation, although the findings are also relevant to other transitional economies.

Two important questions are examined:

  1. What effect has adult ill-health, in particular NCD and injuries, had on the Russian economy and the economic outcomes of the people living there?
  2. If the excessive burden of adult ill-health in the Russian Federation were reduced, what economic benefits could result?

The answers are unambiguous: poor adult health negatively affects economic wellbeing at both the individual and household levels in the Russian Federation; and, if effective action were taken, improved health would play an important role in sustaining high economic growth rates.


The authors

Marc Suhrcke is an economist in the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Venice, Italy.

Lorenzo Rocco is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Padova, Italy.

Martin McKee is Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Research Director at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

Stefano Mazzuco is Research Assistant at the Department of Statistical Sciences at the University of Padova, Italy.

Dieter Urban is Assistant Professor for Economics at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Alfred Steinherr is Head of the Department of Macro-Analysis and Forecasting at the German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin, Germany, and Professor of Economics at the Free University of Bolzano, Italy.