nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2007‒09‒16
five papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. Why Parents Worry: Initiation into Cannabis use by Youth and their Educational Attainment By Ours, J.C. van; Williams, J.
  2. Prescription Drug Coverage and Elderly Medicare Spending By Baoping Shang; Dana P. Goldman
  3. Teen Smoking and Birth Outcomes By MaryBeth Walker; Erdal Tekin; Sally Wallace
  4. The Power of the Pill for the Next Generation By Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat; Daniel M. Hungerman
  5. Personality, Job Satisfaction and Health - The Mediating Influence of Affectivity By Justina A.V. Fischer; Alfonso Sousa-Poza

  1. By: Ours, J.C. van; Williams, J. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: In this paper we use individual level data from the Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey to study the relationship between initiation into cannabis use and educational attainment. Using instrumental variable estimation and bivariate duration analysis we find that those initiating into cannabis use early in life are much more likely to dropout of school compared to those who start later on. Moreover, we find that the reduction in years of schooling depends on the age at which initiation occurs, and that it is larger for females than males.
    Keywords: cannabis use; age of initiation; educational attainment
    JEL: C41 D12 I19
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Baoping Shang; Dana P. Goldman
    Abstract: The introduction of Medicare Part D has generated interest in the cost of providing drug coverage to the elderly. Of paramount importance -- often unaccounted for in budget estimates -- are the salutary effects that increased prescription drug use might have on other Medicare spending. This paper uses longitudinal data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) to estimate how prescription drug benefits affect Medicare spending. We compare spending and service use for Medigap enrollees with and without drug coverage. Because of concerns about selection, we use variation in supply-side regulations of the individual insurance market -- including guaranteed issue and community rating -- as instruments for prescription drug coverage. We employ a discrete factor model to control for individual-level heterogeneity that might induce bias in the effects of drug coverage. Medigap prescription drug coverage increases drug spending by $170 or 22%, and reduces Medicare Part A spending by $350 or 13% (in 2000 dollars). Medigap prescription drug coverage reduces Medicare Part B spending, but the estimates are not statistically significant. Overall, a $1 increase in prescription drug spending is associated with a $2.06 reduction in Medicare spending. Furthermore, the substitution effect decreases as income rises, and thus provides support for the low-income assistance program of Medicare Part D.
    JEL: I0
    Date: 2007–09
  3. By: MaryBeth Walker; Erdal Tekin; Sally Wallace
    Abstract: In the U.S. teen mothers are more likely to give birth to low birth weight babies than non-teen mothers. There is also substantial evidence that smoking is a risk factor correlated with low birth weight. Low birth weight is a costly outcome in both the short and long term for parents, children, and society at large. This paper examines the causal link between teen age smoking behavior and low birth weight. We use a variety of empirical techniques including fixed effects and a matching estimator to identify the impact of smoking on babies of teen and non-teen mothers. We find that both OLS and matching estimator results yield large impacts of smoking on birth weight for teens and adults. However, when we control for unobservables through a fixed effects model, the impact of smoking on birth weight is diminished and there are relatively small differences in the impact of smoking on birth weight between teens and non-teens.
    JEL: D1 I12 J13
    Date: 2007–09
  4. By: Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat; Daniel M. Hungerman
    Abstract: In this paper we ask how the diffusion of oral contraception to young unmarried women affected the number and maternal characteristics of children born to these women. Using census data, we find that early pill access led to an increase in the share of children whose mothers were married, college-educated, and had professional occupations. The pill's effects on the average mother are different from the pill's effects on the average woman, and the effects of the pill on maternal characteristics are in some instances different from the effects of abortion. We investigate the mechanisms by which the pill led to these differential effects and find that access to the pill led to falls in short-term fertility rates for young women and led to decreases in lifetime fertility at the intensive and extensive margins. The impacts of the pill on household characteristics are thus associated with retiming of births, changes in the characteristics of potential mothers, changes in which women become mothers, and by reductions in completed family size. Finally, while the pill affected maternal characteristics differently than abortion, we find suggestive results that availability of the pill lowered abortions among young women.
    JEL: I0 J13 N12
    Date: 2007–09
  5. By: Justina A.V. Fischer; Alfonso Sousa-Poza
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the relationship between job satisfaction and measures of health of workers over 50 using the Swiss Household Panel (SHP) and cross-sectional data from the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Methodologically, it addresses two important design problems encountered frequently in the literature: (a) cross-sectional causality problems and (b) absence of objective measures of physical health and intellectual ability that complement self-reported measures of health status. Not only does using the SHP panel structure with job satisfaction lagged mitigate the simultaneity bias, employing the objective health measures in the SHARE dataset addresses measurement problems resulting from respondents’ affective states. For all datasets, we find a positive link between job satisfaction and self-report health measures; that is, employees with higher job satisfaction levels feel healthier, are less depressed, and report fewer impediments in their daily activities. However, once objective measures of physical health are employed, we observe no such link. Rather, the only positive relationship is for intellectual abilities. These primary findings are then tested using additional controls for working conditions, prior health state and affective mental state. The results indicate that job satisfaction partly serves as a transmission channel.
    Keywords: job satisfaction, health, panel data analysis
    JEL: I18 I19 J28
    Date: 2007–08

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