Quotation Garas, Antonios, Guthmuller, Sophie, Lapatinas, Athanasios. 2021. The development of nations conditions the disease space. PLoS ONE. 16 (1), 1-35.




Using the economic complexity methodology on data for disease prevalence in 195 countries during the period of 1990-2016, we propose two new metrics for quantifying the disease space of countries. With these metrics, we analyze the geography of diseases and empirically investigate the effect of economic development on the health complexity of countries. We show that a higher income per capita increases the complexity of countries’ diseases. We also show that complex diseases tend to be non-ubiquitous diseases that are prevalent in disease-diversified (complex) countries, while non-complex diseases tend to be non-ubiquitous diseases that are prevalent in non-diversified (non-complex) countries. Furthermore, we build a disease-level index that links a disease to the average level of GDP per capita of the countries in which the disease is prevalent. With this index, we highlight the link between economic development and the complexity of diseases and illustrate how increases in income per capita are associated with more complex diseases.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal PLoS ONE
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title The development of nations conditions the disease space
Volume 16
Number 1
Year 2021
Page from 1
Page to 35
Reviewed? Y
URL https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/authors?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244843
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244843
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/authors?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244843


Guthmuller, Sophie (Details)
Garas, Antonios (Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Lapatinas, Athanasios (Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra, Italy)
Health Economics and Policy Group AB (Details)
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