nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2005‒09‒17
three papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. Endogenous Fertility, Mortality and Economic Growth: Can a Malthusian Framework Account for the Conflicting Historical Trends in Population? By Isaac Ehrlich; Jinyoung Kim
  2. Evidence that Seat Belts are as Effective as Child Safety Seats in Preventing Death for Children Aged Two and Up By Steven D. Levitt
  3. Business Cycles, Migration and Health By Timothy Halliday

  1. By: Isaac Ehrlich; Jinyoung Kim
    Abstract: The 19th century economist, Thomas Robert Malthus, hypothesized that the long-run supply of labor is completely elastic at a fixed wage-income level because population growth tends to outstrip real output growth. Dynamic equilibrium with constant income and population is achieved through equilibrating adjustments in "positive checks" (mortality, starvation) and "preventive checks" (marriage, fertility). Developing economies since the Industrial Revolution, and more recently especially Asian economies, have experienced steady income growth accompanied by sharply falling fertility and mortality rates. We develop a dynamic model of endogenous fertility, longevity, and human capital formation within a Malthusian framework that allows for diminishing returns to labor but also for the role of human capital as an engine of growth. Our model accounts for economic stagnation with high fertility and mortality and constant population and income, as predicted by Malthus, but also for takeoffs to a growth regime and a demographic transition toward low fertility and mortality rates, and a persistent growth in per-capita income.
    JEL: O1 J1 I1
    Date: 2005–09
  2. By: Steven D. Levitt
    Abstract: Over the last thirty years, the use of child safety seats in motor vehicles has increased dramatically, fueled by well publicized information campaigns and legal mandates. In spite of this movement, there is relatively little empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of child safety seats relative to the much cheaper alternative of traditional seat belts. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) on all fatal crashes in the United States from 1975-2003, I find that child safety seats, in actual practice, are no better than seat belts at reducing fatalities among children aged 2-6. This result is robust to a wide range of sensitivity analyses, including controlling for sample selection that arises because the FARS data set includes only crashes in which at least one fatality occurs.
    JEL: K2 R4
    Date: 2005–09
  3. By: Timothy Halliday (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)
    Abstract: This paper uses data from the PSID to investigate how selective migration affects the relationship between business cycles and health. We show that, among the healthy, migration is used to insure against macroeconomic fluctuations. However, among the unhealthy, there is no relationship between migration and business cycles. In other words, illness erases a person’s ability to use migration to hedge against business cycle fluctuations. This suggests that recessions should induce an out-migration of disproportionately healthy people from economically depressed areas. This implies that - ceterus paribus - mortality and morbidity rates should be counter-cyclical.
    JEL: J10 J61
    Date: 2005–03–03

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