nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2007‒07‒20
eight papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. Does the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives? By Jeffrey A. Miron; Elina Tetelbaum
  2. How Did SCHIP Affect the Insurance Coverage of Immigrant Children? By Thomas Buchmueller; Anthony Lo Sasso; Kathleen Wong
  3. Fraternity Membership and Drinking Behavior By Jeffrey S. DeSimone
  4. Junk Food, Health and Productivity: Taste, Price, Risk and Rationality By Levy, Amnon
  5. A theoretical analysis of rational diet of healthy and junk foods By Levy, Amnon
  6. A Mean-Variance Portfolio Analysis of the Demand and Supply of a Potentially Infectious Service By Levy, Amnon
  7. Child Malnutrition and Mortality in Developing Countries: Evidence from a Cross-Country Analysis By Gabriele, Alberto; Schettino, Francesco
  8. Child Mortality In China And Vietnam In A Comparative Perspective By Alberto, Gabriele; Francesco, Schettino

  1. By: Jeffrey A. Miron; Elina Tetelbaum
    Abstract: The minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) is widely believed to save lives by reducing traffic fatalities among underage drivers. Further, the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act, which pressured all states to adopt an MLDA of 21, is regarded as having contributed enormously to this life saving effect. This paper challenges both claims. State-level panel data for the past 30 years show that any nationwide impact of the MLDA is driven by states that increased their MLDA prior to any inducement from the federal government. Even in early adopting states, the impact of the MLDA did not persist much past the year of adoption. The MLDA appears to have only a minor impact on teen drinking.
    JEL: H11 K42
    Date: 2007–07
  2. By: Thomas Buchmueller; Anthony Lo Sasso; Kathleen Wong
    Abstract: The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) significantly expanded public insurance eligibility and coverage for children in "working poor" families. Despite this success, it is estimated that over 6 million children who are eligible for public insurance remain uninsured. An important first step for designing strategies to increase enrollment of eligible but uninsured children is to determine how the take-up of public coverage varies within the population. Because of their low rates of insurance coverage and unique enrollment barriers, children of immigrants are an especially important group to consider. We compare the effect of SCHIP eligibility on the insurance coverage of children of foreign-born and native-born parents. In contrast to research on the earlier Medicaid expansions, we find similar take-up rates for the two groups. This suggests that state outreach strategies were not only effective at increasing take-up overall, but were successful in reducing disparities in access to coverage.
    JEL: I1 I18
    Date: 2007–07
  3. By: Jeffrey S. DeSimone
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of fraternity and sorority membership on a wide array of drinking outcomes among respondents to four Harvard College Alcohol Study surveys from 1993-2001. Identification is achieved by including proxies for specific types of unobserved heterogeneity expected to influence the relationship. These include high school and parental drinking behaviors to account for time-invariant omitted factors, and assessed importance of drinking-related activities and reasons for drinking to control for changes in preferences since starting college. Self-selection is quantitatively important. But even controlling for variables plausibly affected by fraternity membership, such as current alcohol use categorization (from abstainer to heavy drinker) and time spent socializing, fraternity membership has a large impact on drinking intensity, frequency and recency, as well as various negative drinking consequences that potentially carry negative externalities.
    JEL: I1 I2
    Date: 2007–07
  4. By: Levy, Amnon (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: Junk-food consumption, health and productivity are analyzed within an expectedlifetime- utility-maximizing framework in which the probability of living and productivity rise with health and health deteriorate with the consumption of junkfood. So long that the junk food’s relative taste-price differential is positive, the rational diet deviates from the physiologically optimal and renders the levels of health and productivity lower than the maximal. Taxing junk-food can eliminate this discrepancy but the outcome is not Pareto-superior. The value of health and the stationary junk-food consumption and health depend on the relative taste-price differential, survival and satisfaction elasticities and time preference-rate.
    Keywords: junk-food, healthy-food, relative taste, relative price, health, risk, lifequality,productivity, rationality, self-control
    JEL: I12 D91
    Date: 2006
  5. By: Levy, Amnon (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: Junk-food consumption, health and productivity are analysed within an expectedlifetime- utility-maximising framework in which longevity and productivity rise with health, and health deteriorates with the consumption of junk food. As long as the junk food’s relative taste-price differential is positive, rational diets deviate from the physiologically optimal ones and generate lower than maximal levels of health and productivity. Taxing junk food can eliminate this discrepancy, but the outcome is not Pareto-superior. The value of health and the steady-state levels of rational junk-food consumption, health and productivity depend on the consumer’s tastes, prices, endurance, appetite and time preferences.
    Keywords: Taste; Price; Endurance; Appetite; Time-preferences
    JEL: I12 D91
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Levy, Amnon (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: A health-risking illegal personal service is transacted when the expected extra satisfaction rate exceeds the ratio of the expected extra cost to the legal service price. Its prevalence decreases with the costs of risk bearing for the providers and clients. Law-enforcement effort lowers (raises) the equilibrium price of the illegal and hazardous service when the ratio of the providers’ and the clients’ degrees of absolute risk aversion is greater (smaller) than the ratio of the law-enforcement elasticities of their cost bearing.
    Keywords: Unsafe service; Health risk; Legal risk; Law enforcement
    JEL: D4 D8 I1 K4
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Gabriele, Alberto; Schettino, Francesco
    Abstract: In this paper we propose and test an interpretative framework on the social and economic determinants of child malnutrition and child mortality, two key human development indicators. The paper is organized as follows. Section 1 illustrates the main economic and social factors causing child malnutrition and mortality. Section 2 identifies the main clusters of food insecure and vulnerable households and briefly describes their livelihood profiles. Section 3 exposes our cross-country estimation methodology. Section 4 reports and discusses the results. Section 5 concludes.
    Keywords: Malnutrition; Mortality; Cross-Country Analysis; Millenium Development Goals; Food Insecurity
    JEL: I38 I32 O21
    Date: 2007–04
  8. By: Alberto, Gabriele; Francesco, Schettino
    Abstract: This paper analyzes China’s and Vietnam’s performance in reducing under-five child mortality in a comparative perspective. Under the market socialist model, both countries achieved very high rates of GDP growth, but income distribution and the provision of key public services deteriorated. As a result, child mortality reduction in China and Vietnam was only partially satisfactory. However, although the former grew faster and is more economically developed, Vietnam’s record in this area was markedly better than China’s. We show that this apparent paradox is due mainly to two reasons. One is related to the relative status of women, which is better in Vietnam than in China. The other stems from the fact that the perverse side-effects of market-oriented reforms (such as worsening income distribution and degradation of essential public services) have reached a more advanced and alarming stage in China than in Vietnam.
    Keywords: Child Mortality; China; Vietnam; Socialist Market; Cross Country analysis
    JEL: I12 P21 I38 O21
    Date: 2006–07

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