nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2006‒08‒12
eight papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. Tobacco Taxation in the European Union By Sybren Cnossen
  2. When I'm 104: The Determinants Of Healthy Longevity among the Oldest-Old in China By Dennis Ahlburg; Eric R. Jensen; Ruyan Liao
  3. Maternal Health Financing – Issues and Options: A Study of Chiranjeevi Yojana in Gujarat By Bhat Ramesh; Singh Amarjit; Maheshwari Sunil; Saha Somen
  4. Caring for their parent By Paula Albuquerque
  5. Sheepskin or Prozac: The Causal Effect of Education on Mental Health By Arnaud Chevalier; Leon Feinstein
  6. Money and Mental Wellbeing: A Longitudinal Study of Medium-Sized Lottery Wins By Jonathan Gardner; Andrew J. Oswald
  7. How Household Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: The Effect of Aging and Health Shocks By Courtney Coile; Kevin Milligan
  8. Retiree Health Benefits and Retirement By James Marton; Stephen A. Woodbury

  1. By: Sybren Cnossen
    Abstract: Later this year, the European Commission has to submit a report to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament with its views on tobacco tax policy in the EU. A 2004 publication issued by the Commission expressed the beliefs that tobacco consumption should be controlled by increasing tobacco excises and that harmonisation should proceed on the basis of specific rates. This paper reviews and evaluates EU tobacco tax policies. It supports the move towards specific taxation, but notes that there are conceptual and empirical limits to excessively high tobacco taxes. Smokers appear to pay their way and cigarette smuggling is a growing menace to health and revenue objectives.
    Keywords: tobacco taxation; European Union
    JEL: H2 H8
    Date: 2006–07
  2. By: Dennis Ahlburg (Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado-Boulder); Eric R. Jensen (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary); Ruyan Liao (Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: This study uses the China Healthy Longevity Survey of Oldest-Old to investigate the health status of the oldest-old in China. We found that the different measures of health collected in the survey were only moderately related. That is, there is not a single construct called "health". We found that work history was modestly related to some measures of health. We also found that childhood health and socioeconomic status were correlated with health even at advanced ages. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine this connection in developing countries and at such advanced ages.
    Keywords: Aging, oldest-old, longevity
    JEL: J14 I10
    Date: 2006–07–15
  3. By: Bhat Ramesh; Singh Amarjit; Maheshwari Sunil; Saha Somen
    Abstract: Government of Gujarat announced a “Chiranjeevi Yojana” in April 2005. The objective of this scheme is to encourage private medical practitioners to provide maternity health services in remote areas which record the highest infant and maternal mortality and thereby improve the institutional delivery rate in Gujarat. The scheme was finally launched as a one year pilot project in December 2005 in five districts viz., Banaskantha, Dahod, Kutch, Panchmahal, and Sabarkantha. The private empanelled providers are reimbursed on capitation payment basis according to which they are reimbursed at a fixed rate for deliveries carried out by them. The payments are made for a batch of 100 deliveries. This is expected to take care of case-mix differences (i.e., normal or complicated deliveries) and help the providers to keep the costs below the reimbursed amounts. The scheme proposes to use a voucher system to target the people living below poverty line. The objective of this paper is to document the experience in implementing this scheme and discuss the issues in up-scaling it further.
    Date: 2006–08–08
  4. By: Paula Albuquerque
    Abstract: Should someone with more adult children expect to have further chances of avoiding institutionalisation in old age than someone with fewer children? Should an aging population build more institutions for the elderly, including for the elderly with children? We show that population aging – as the motive for the reduction of the number of children to every parent – does not imply that the elderly with adult children will have to rely more on institutions when they need long-term care.
    Keywords: living arrangements; elderly; adult children.
    JEL: D19 J14
  5. By: Arnaud Chevalier (University of Kent, CEE, London School of Economics, University College Dublin and IZA Bonn); Leon Feinstein (Institute of Education and CEE, London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Mental illness is associated with large costs to individuals and society. Education improves various health outcomes but little work has been done on mental illness. To obtain unbiased estimates of the effect of education on mental health, we rely on a rich longitudinal dataset that contains health information from childhood to adulthood and thus allow us to control for fixed effects in mental health. We measure two health outcomes: malaise score and depression and estimate the extensive and intensive margins of education on mental health using various estimators. For all estimators, accounting for the endogeneity of education augments its protecting effect on mental health. We find that the effect of education is greater at mid-level of qualifications, for women and for individuals at greater risk of mental illness. The effects of education are observed at all ages, additionally education also reduces the transition to depression. These results suggest substantial returns to education in term of improved mental health.
    Keywords: returns to education, mental health
    JEL: I12 I29
    Date: 2006–07
  6. By: Jonathan Gardner (Watson Wyatt Worldwide); Andrew J. Oswald (University of Warwick and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: One of the famous questions in social science is whether money makes people happy. We offer new evidence by using longitudinal data on a random sample of Britons who receive medium-sized lottery wins of between £1000 and £120,000 (that is, up to approximately U.S. $200,000). When compared to two control groups - one with no wins and the other with small wins - these individuals go on eventually to exhibit significantly better psychological health. Two years after a lottery win, the average measured improvement in mental wellbeing is 1.4 GHQ points.
    Keywords: psychological health, happiness, GHQ, income
    JEL: D1 I3
    Date: 2006–07
  7. By: Courtney Coile; Kevin Milligan
    Abstract: In this paper, we study how the portfolios of elderly U.S. households evolve after retirement, using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). In particular, we investigate the influence of aging and health shocks on a household’s ownership of various assets and on the dollar value and share of total assets held in each asset class. We find that households decrease their ownership of most asset classes as they age, with the strongest evidence for principal residences and vehicles, while increasing the share of assets held in bank accounts and CDs. Consistent with prior studies, we find that the death of a spouse is a strong predictor of selling the principal residence. However, we find that widowhood also leads households to sell vehicles, businesses, and real estate and to put money into bank accounts and CDs, and further that other health shocks have very similar impacts. Finally, we explore why health shocks affect asset holdings and find that the effect of a shock is greatly magnified when households have physical or mental impairments. This suggests that factors other than standard risk and return considerations may weigh heavily in many older households’ portfolio decisions.
    JEL: G11 J14
    Date: 2006–07
  8. By: James Marton (University of Kentucky); Stephen A. Woodbury (Michigan State University and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)
    Abstract: Employer-provided health benefit coverage for workers who retire before age 65 has fallen over the last decade. We examine a cohort of male workers from the Health and Retirement Survey to examine questions about the dynamics of retiree health benefits and the relationship between retiree health benefits and retirement behavior, which is important for the debate over increasing health coverage for older Americans without reducing work incentives. On dynamics, we find that between 1992 and 1996, 24 percent of full-time workers who had retiree health benefits lost their coverage, while 15 percent of full-time workers who lacked coverage gained it. Also, of the full-time employed men who were covered by retiree health benefits in 1992 and had retired by 1996, 3 percent were uninsured, and 15 percent were covered by health insurance other than employer-provided insurance. On the relationship between retiree health benefits and retirement, we find that workers with retiree benefits were 29 to 55 percent more likely to retire than those without. We also find that workers who are eligible for retiree health benefits tend to take advantage of them when they are relatively young.
    Keywords: Marton, Woodbury, health insurance, employee benefits, retirement, elderly, employment, retiree health benefits
    JEL: J26 J32 J33 I18 M52
    Date: 2006–07

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