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The effect of health on productivity at small-area level in England

This research is looking at how improving health outcomes could lead to improved economic productivity. Improving ‘Healthy Life Expectancy’ was one of the 12 missions set out in the recent White Paper Levelling Up the United Kingdom. This project will build on the 2018 analysis Health for Wealth: Building a Healthier Northern Powerhouse for UK Productivity report which showed that around 30% of the £44bn per-year gap in productivity between the North and the rest of England was attributable to worse health outcomes in the North. It concluded that if these unfair health inequalities could be eradicated, then an extra £13.2bn a year could be added to UK productivity. This project will update and address limitations in the Health for Wealth report in a number of ways. For example, this new analysis will use more granular data on economic productivity; use comparisons not just between the North and the rest of England but of deprivation scales, urban vs. rural areas, coastal vs. inland areas; use richer data on health including life expectancy, healthy life expectancy and mental health; and use better measures of skills, training and education in relation to health. The hypothesis is that the main link between health and economic productivity occurs through changes in the health of the working age population, and the research will also look at the role of unpaid carers.

Lead Researcher: Dr Luke Munford (The University of Manchester)

Collaborators: Professor Matt Sutton, Professor Dame Nicky Cullum (all The University of Manchester)

The University of Manchester