nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2010‒06‒04
eight papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. Health-promotion Activities and Health Status By Shinya Kajitani; Miki Kohara
  2. Putting Health in all Policies: The National Institute for Welfare Enhancement By Vicente Ortún; Beatriz González López-Valcárcel
  3. Gasoline Prices and Their Relationship to Drunk-Driving Crashes By Guangqing Chi; Xuan Zhou; Timothy McClure; Paul Gilbert; Arthur Cosby; Li Zhang; Angela Robertson; David Levinson
  4. Catastrophic Natural Disasters and Economic Growth By Eduardo Cavallo; Sebastian Galiani; Ilan Noy; Juan Pantano
  5. Measuring the return on spending on the Medicare HMO program By Anne E. Hall
  6. The Height Production Function from Birth to Early Adulthood By Elisabetta De Cao
  7. Differences in the effect of social capital on health status between workers and non-workers By Yamamura, Eiji
  8. Low Malnutrition but High Mortality: Explaining the Puzzle of the Lake Victoria Region By Johannes Gräb; Jan Priebe

  1. By: Shinya Kajitani (Assistant Professor, School of Economics, Meisei University); Miki Kohara (Associate Professor, Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP))
    Abstract: In this study, we examine what promotes individual's health-related activities and how these activities affect the individual's health status. For this purpose, we use data from an original survey conducted in Japan. We adopt an estimation model which takes into account the following points: the impact of time preference and risk aversion on health-promotion decisions, the correlation among health-promotion activities (eating balanced meals, regular physical activity, moderate or no use of tobacco, and getting enough sleep or adequate rest), and the unobserved factors that influence both an individual's health-promotion decisions and his/her health status simultaneously. This is because, studies have pointed out that the individual rate of time preference plays an important role in health-promotion decisions. In addition, the individual could have several healthy activities simultaneously, and the unobserved heterogeneity included in the self-assessed health status, which we use as an index of health status, may also influence the individual's health-promotion decisions. Our empirical investigation shows that the error terms of health-promotion equations have a positively significant correlation with each other. These results imply that it is important to take into account the correlation among health-promotion decisions simultaneously. Moreover, even after controlling for this correlation, we find that the health-promotion activities, specifically, getting enough sleep or adequate rest, has a positive impact on the individual's health status.
    Keywords: correlated disturbances, health-promotion activities, risk aversion, self-assessed health, time preference.
    JEL: I12 I18 C35
    Date: 2010–05
  2. By: Vicente Ortún; Beatriz González López-Valcárcel
    Abstract: Welfare is a rather vague term whose meaning depends on ideology, values and judgments. Material resources are just means to enhance people’s well-being, but growth of the Gross Domestic Production is still the standard measure of the success of a society. Fortunately, recent advances in measuring social performance include health, education and other social outcomes. Because “what we measure affects what we do” it is hoped that social policies will change. The movement Health in all policies and its associated Health Impact Assessment methodology will contribute to it. The task consists of designing transversal policies that consider health and other welfare goals, the short term and long-term implications and intergenerational redistributions of resources. As long as marginal productivity on health outside the healthcare system is higher than inside it, efficiency needs cross-sectoral policies. And fairness needs them even more, because in order to reduce social inequalities in health, a wide social and political response is needed. Unless we reduce the well-documented inefficiencies in our current health care systems the welfare states will fail to consolidate and the overall economic wellbeing could be in serious trouble. In this article we sketched some policy solutions such as pricing according to net benefits of innovation and public encouragement of radical innovation besides the small type incremental and market-led innovation. We proposed an independent agency, the National Institute for Welfare Enhancement to guarantee long term fair and efficient social policies in which health plays a central role.
    Keywords: Public health policies; Health Impact Assessment; Welfare; Health in All Policies.
    JEL: I18 D60 H10
    Date: 2010–05
  3. By: Guangqing Chi; Xuan Zhou; Timothy McClure; Paul Gilbert; Arthur Cosby; Li Zhang; Angela Robertson; David Levinson (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: his study investigates the relationship between changing gasoline prices and drunk-driving crashes. Specifically, we examine the effects of gasoline prices on drunk-driving crashes in Mississippi by age, gender, and race from 2004Ð2008, a period experiencing great fluctuation in gasoline prices. An exploratory visualization by graphs shows that higher gasoline prices are generally associated with fewer drunk-driving crashes. Higher gasoline prices depress drunk- driving crashes among younger and older drivers, among male and female drivers, and among white, black, and Hispanic drivers. The statistical results suggest that higher gasoline prices lead to lower drunk-driving crashes for female and black drivers. However, alcohol consumption is a better predictor of drunk-driving crashes, especially for male, white, and older drivers.
    JEL: R41 R48 Q41 R51
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Eduardo Cavallo (Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department); Sebastian Galiani (Washington University in St. Louis); Ilan Noy (University of Hawaii, Department of Economics); Juan Pantano (Washington University in St. Louis)
    Abstract: We examine the short and long run average causal impact of catastrophic natural disasters on economic growth by combining information from comparative case studies. We assess the counterfactual of the cases studied by constructing synthetic control groups taking advantage of the fact that the timing of large sudden natural disasters is an exogenous event. We ?find that only extremely large disasters have a negative effect on output both in the short and long run. However, we also show that this result from two events where radical political revolutions followed the natural disasters. Once we control for these political changes, even extremely large disasters do not display any signi?cant effect on economic growth. We also fi?nd that smaller, but still very large natural disasters, have no discernible effect on output in the short run or in the long run.
    Keywords: Natural Disasters, Political Change, Economic Growth and Causal Effects.
    JEL: O40 O47
    Date: 2010–04–28
  5. By: Anne E. Hall
    Abstract: I estimate the welfare provided by and net costs of the Medicare HMO program in 1999-2002. I measure welfare with a nested logit model of demand for Medicare HMO plans using detailed data on plan benefits. From this, I derive estimates of consumer surplus and find that total welfare provided by the program over the four-year period is about $61 billion (2000 $). I also use data on favorable selection enjoyed by Medicare HMOs to estimate net costs, which total about $21 billion (2000 $). Net welfare therefore totals nearly $40 billion and the return on spending is about 186%.
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Elisabetta De Cao (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: In this paper I specify a height production function in order to study the determinants of height from birth to early adulthood in the Philippines. I use a rich longitudinal data set on Filipino children born in 1983 and followed for more than 20 years. The structure of the production function allows height to be the result of the accumulation of inputs over time. The results show that inputs from conception to birth are relevant at each age of the children. Nutrition inputs have a positive but small effect on the child’s height. The shorter the distance between the age when the nutrition input is applied and the age when height is measured, the higher the impact on height. The younger the child, the bigger the impact. The earlier disease inputs are experienced, the stronger their negative effect on height. The older the child, the stronger the effects of past diseases.
    Date: 2010–05–28
  7. By: Yamamura, Eiji
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship of social capital to self-rated health status in Japan, and how this is affected by the labor market. Data of 3075 adult participants in the 2000 Social Policy and Social Consciousness (SPSC) survey were used. Controlling for endogenous bias, the main finding is that social capital has a significant positive influence on health status for people without a job but not for those with. This empirical study provides evidence that people without a job can afford to allocate time to accumulate social capital and thereby improve their health status.
    Keywords: health status; social capital; labor market
    JEL: I19 J22 Z13
    Date: 2010–05–27
  8. By: Johannes Gräb; Jan Priebe (Georg-August-University Göttingen)
    Abstract: Comparing DHS data from 235 regions in 29 Sub-Saharan Africa countries, we find that the combination of low levels of malnutrition together with dramatically high rates of mortality, encountered in Kenya’s Lake Victoria territory, is unique for Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper explores the causes of this phenomenon in the Kenyan context. Our identification strategy consists of two parts. First of all, we apply multilevel regression models to control simultaneously for family and community clustering of the observed malnutrition and mortality outcomes. Secondly, to address unobserved but correlated factors, we exploit information from GIS and malaria databases to construct variables that capture additional components of children’s geographic, political and cultural environment. Our analysis reveals that beneficial agricultural conditions and feeding practices lead to the observed sound anthropometric outcomes around Lake Victoria. In contrast, high mortality rates rest upon an adverse disease environment (malaria prevalence, water pollution, HIV rates) and a policy neglect (underprovision of health care services). Even after controlling for these factors, a significant effect of the local ethnic group, the Luo, on mortality remains.
    Keywords: child mortality; undernutrition; multilevel modeling; Kenya
    JEL: I10 I30 O12 R12
    Date: 2010–05–26

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