News FocusEconomics

'To Your Health' Is More Than a Toast to Economists

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Science  25 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5483, pp. 1275
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5483.1275

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Whereas growth accountants use standard monetary measures of return on investment to estimate information technology's impact on productivity, those who study the country's $45 billion annual investment in biomedicine tend to talk instead about "the social rate of return." In health, they argue, the coin of the realm is having a longer, more comfortable life. Two reports released last May conclude that this return is huge-in some cases, more than $20 for every dollar invested.