nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2007‒08‒18
ten papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity By Rusty Tchernis; Daniel Millimet; Muna Hussain
  2. Selective Migration and Health By Timothy J. Halliday; Michael Kimmitt
  3. Public Hospitals - Incentives and Organization By Rehn, Eric
  4. The Impact of Cell Phones and BAC Laws on Motor Vehicle Fatality Rates By Peter D. Loeb; William A. Clarke; Richard Anderson
  5. Malaria: Disease Impacts and Long-Run Income Differences By Douglas Gollin; Christian Zimmermann
  6. Price elasticity and other forces shaping cigarette demand in South Africa over 1996-2006 By Willem H. Boshoff
  7. Economic Determinants of Participation in Physical Activity and Sport By Brad R. Humphreys; Jane E. Ruseski
  8. The Macroeconomic Debate on Scaling up HIV/AIDS Financing By Terry McKinley; Degol Hailu
  9. How Does Heterogeneity Shape the Socioeconomic Gradient in Health Satisfaction? By Andrew M. Jones; Stefanie Schurer
  10. The Impact of Income Shocks on Health: Evidence from Cohort Data By Jérome Adda; James Banks; Hans-Martin von Gaudecker

  1. By: Rusty Tchernis (Indiana University Bloomington); Daniel Millimet (Southern Methodist University); Muna Hussain (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: In light of the recent rise in childhood obesity, the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) have received renewed attention, despite the fact that they have existed for decades. The SBP, in particular, is viewed as a potentially important component of any policy reform designed to combat the increased prevalence of overweight children given the importance attributed to a nutritious breakfast. Using panel data on over 13,500 students from kindergarten through third grade, we assess the relationship between SBP and NSLP participation on (relatively) long-run measures of child weight. While we find more mixed evidence on the association between NSLP participation and child weight, we obtain a relatively robust positive association between SBP participation and child weight, particularly for white children, entering kindergarten in the `normal' weight range, with mothers of moderate education.
    JEL: C31 H51 I18 I28
    Date: 2007–07
  2. By: Timothy J. Halliday (Department of Economics and John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa); Michael Kimmitt (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)
    Abstract: We investigate the proposition that the health of migrants does not constitute a random sample of the health of the sending region using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics on internal migration within the United States. Panel data is crucial, as it enables us to observe geographic mobility as well as the health of the migrant prior to migration. We find that, for men and women below 60 years of age, a move from the middle to the bottom of the health distribution reduces mobility by 32-40% and 12-18%, respectively. Nonrandom attrition from the panel implies that these estimates are lower bounds. By contrast, we find evidence that, among older people, there is higher mobility at the top and bottom of the health distribution than there is at the middle. We consider two explanations for this: first that elderly persons may migrate to be closer to a family network once they fall ill, and second that non-random attrition may also be causing an upwards bias in the estimated effect of illness on mobility.
    Keywords: Migration, Health, Selection, Attrition
    Date: 2007–08–08
  3. By: Rehn, Eric (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: This paper uses property rights theory to analyze the organization of public hospitals. A number of theoretical cases are considered, starting with a basic scenario where the public principal is a medical department that requires an input from a support department for the production of hospital care. Subsequently a hotel services is added to the analysis, and finally a second medical department is introduced.
    Keywords: Public Hospitals; Property Rights; Joint Production
    JEL: D23 I18
    Date: 2007–08–02
  4. By: Peter D. Loeb; William A. Clarke; Richard Anderson
    Abstract: This paper develops a set of models for the determinants of automobile fatalities with particular attention devoted to the effects of increased cell phone usage. Cell phones have been associated with both life-taking and life-saving properties. However, prior statistical evaluations of the effects of cell phones have led to fragile results. We develop in this paper econometric models using time series data, allowing for polynomial structures of the regressors. The models are evaluated with a set of specification error tests providing reliable estimates of the effects of the various policy and driving related variables evaluated. The statistical results indicate the effect of cell phones is non-monotonic depending on the volume of phones in use, first having a net life-taking effect, then a net life-saving effect, followed finally with a net life-taking effect as the volume of phone use increases.
    Keywords: Motor Vehicle Fatalities, Cell Phones, BAC Laws
    JEL: L9 I1
    Date: 2007–02
  5. By: Douglas Gollin (Williams College); Christian Zimmermann (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, causes over 300 million episodes of "acute illness" and more than one million deaths annually. Most of the deaths occur in poor countries of the tropics, and especially sub-Saharan Africa. Some researchers have suggested that ecological differences associated with malaria prevalence are perhaps the most important reason why some countries today are rich and others poor. This paper explores the question in an explicit dynamic general equilibrium framework, using a calibrated model that incorporates epidemiological features into a standard general equilibrium framework.
    Keywords: Malaria, Epidemiology, GDP, Disease prevention, Sub-Saharan Africa.
    JEL: I1 O11 E13 E21
    Date: 2007–08
  6. By: Willem H. Boshoff (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: The study seeks to re-investigate the price elasticity of South African cigarette demand over the period 1996 to 2006. At first glance, rising cigarette prices seem to have played an important role in reducing cigarette consumption over the sample period, especially during the late nineties. But how dependent is the impact of price increases on general economic conditions and overall health awareness among smokers? Health awareness, in particular, has not received sufficient attention in the South African context, due to a lack of data. Furthermore, previous estimates of price and income elasticity of cigarette demand are based on long annual time series data, which do not allow for changes in underlying tastes and preferences. The paper attempts to disentangle the forces of price, income, health awareness and policy intervention using a quarterly dataset. However, the study also cautions against the upward bias in estimates derived from formal cigarette sales data – in the light of increasing illicit cigarette volumes in South Africa.
    Keywords: Price elasticity, Tobacco control, Cigarettes, Illicit cigarettes, Excise duties, Health awareness
    JEL: D12 H21 I18 C40
    Date: 2007
  7. By: Brad R. Humphreys (Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois); Jane E. Ruseski (Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois)
    Abstract: This paper examines the economic determinants of participation in physical activity by developing and analyzing a consumer choice model of participation and by testing the predictions of this model using data drawn from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). Both emphasize that individuals face two distinct decisions: (1) should I participate in sport?; and (2) how much time should I spend participating in sport? The evidence highlights the importance of selectivity. The economic factors that affect these two decisions work in opposite directions; factors that increase the likelihood of participation generally decrease the amount of time spent participating.
    Keywords: physical activity, time allocation, health production
    JEL: I20 I12 I18 L83
    Date: 2006–07
  8. By: Terry McKinley (International Poverty Centre); Degol Hailu (UNDP SURF)
    Keywords: Poverty, ECONOMIC, Macroeconomic, HIV, AIDS
    JEL: B41 D11 D12 E31 I32 O54
    Date: 2006–09
  9. By: Andrew M. Jones; Stefanie Schurer
    Abstract: Individual heterogeneity plays a key role in explaining variation in self-reported well-being and, in particular, health satisfaction. It is hypothesised that the influence of this heterogeneity varies over levels of health and increases over the life-cycle. These hypotheses are tested with data on health satisfaction from 22 waves of the German Socioeconomic Panel (GSOEP).Nonlinear fixed effects methods that allow for unobserved heterogeneity are not readily available for categorical measures of well-being. One common solution is to revert to conditional fixed effects methods, at the price of a high degree of information loss. Another common solution is to ignore the association between unobserved heterogeneity and socio-economic status by using pooled or random effects models, at the price of potential bias.We use a generalization of the conditional fixed effects logit, that allows for individual-specific reporting bias, heterogeneity in health endowments, and heterogeneity in the impact of income on health satisfaction. Adjusting for unobserved heterogeneity accounts for the relationship between income and very good health, but not between income and poorer health states. The income gradient for older age-groups is more strongly affected by controlling for unobserved heterogeneity: revealing an increasing influence of heterogeneity on health satisfaction over the life-span.
    Keywords: Panel data, generalized conditional fixed effects logit, generalized ordered logit, health, GSOEP
    JEL: I12 C23
    Date: 2007–05
  10. By: Jérome Adda; James Banks; Hans-Martin von Gaudecker (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA))
    Abstract: We study the effect of permanent income innovations on health for a prime-aged population. Using information on more than half a million individuals sampled over a twenty-five year period in three different cross-sectional surveys we aggregate data by date-of-birth cohort to construct a ’synthetic cohort’ dataset with details of income, expenditure, socio-demographic factors, health outcomes and selected risk factors. We then exploit structural and arguably exogenous changes in cohort incomes over the eighties and nineties to uncover causal effects of permanent income shocks on health. We find that such income innovations have little effects on health, but do affect health behaviour and mortality.
    Date: 2007–08–13

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