Tanguy Le Fur

phd seminar

Tanguy Le Fur

The political economy of public health and the direction of technical change

IBD Salle 16

Îlot Bernard du Bois - Salle 16

5-9 boulevard Maurice Bourdet
13001 Marseille

Mardi 19 mars 2019| 12:30 - 13:15

Océane Piétri : oceane.pietri[at]univ-amu.fr
Morgan Raux : morgan.raux[at]univ-amu.fr
Laura Sénécal : laura.senecal[at]univ-amu.fr


During the first half of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution was marked by an episode of both deterioration of population health and « deskilling » — loss of workers’ skills due to unskillbiased technical change. In this paper, I study the provision of public health over the course of development and its interaction with the direction of technological progress. I show that, when taxes to fund public health investments are chosen so as to maximize output, technological progress is first unskill-biased, the share of unskilled workers increases and as a result, population health deteriorates in the first stage of development. The economy may switch to a regime with positive health investments that provides incentives for workers to accumulate human capital and eventually change the direction of technical progress, or get stuck in a poor health—low skill steady state in the long run.