nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2010‒09‒18
eleven papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. A competing risk model for health and food insecurity in the West Bank By Elisa Cavatorta
  2. Child Health and the Income Gradient: Evidence from China By Chen, Yi; Lei, Xiaoyan; Zhou, Li-An
  3. Poorer Health – Shorter Hours? Health and Flexibility of Hours of Work By Geyer, Johannes; Myck, Michal
  5. The Economic Choice of Participation and Time Spent in Physical Activity and Sport in Canada By Humphreys, Brad; Ruseski, Jane
  6. The Demography of an Early Mortality Transition: Life Expectancy, Survival and Mortality Rates for Britain's Royals, 1500-1799 By Paul A. David; S. Ryan Johansson; Andrea Pozzi
  7. Height, Health Human Capital and Quality of Life Among Older Chinese By Asadul Islam; Paul Raschky; Russell Smyth
  8. Children and Parental Health: Evidence from China By Asadul Islam; Russell Smyth
  9. Food Consumption Patterns and Malnourished Indian Children: Is there a Link? By Pushkar Maitra; Anu Rammohan; Ranjan Ray; Marie-Claire Robitaille
  10. Public Policy and Market Competition: How the Master Settlement Agreement Changed the Cigarette Industry By Ciliberto, Federico; Kuminoff, Nicolai
  11. Are Pregnant Women Happier? Racial Differences in the Relationsip Between Pregnancy and Life Satisfaction By Paul, Hagstrom; Stephen, Wu

  1. By: Elisa Cavatorta (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)
    Abstract: This paper explores the interactions between the risk of food insecurity and the decision to health insure in the Palestinian Territories. The risk of adverse health conditions is insurable; the risk of food insecurity is a background risk and no market insurance exists. The vulnerability to food insecurity influences the individual utility from health insuring. We present a competing risk model to reveal this interdependence. We specify the empirical model as a bivariate probit model and evaluate the impact of food insecurity on the household decision to health insure. We find evidence of significant complementarity between the risk of food insecurity and the propensity to health insure. The predicted conditional probabilities reveal that the propensity to health insure is higher in presence of food insecurity among Palestinian households. This study shows that, in presence of a background risk, there are complementarities among risks that policy should be mindful of.
    Date: 2010–09
  2. By: Chen, Yi (University of California, Los Angeles); Lei, Xiaoyan (Peking University); Zhou, Li-An (Peking University)
    Abstract: Though the positive income gradient of child health is well documented in developed countries, evidence from developing countries is rare. Few studies attempt to identify a causal link between family income and child health. Utilizing unique longitudinal data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, we have found a positive, age-enhancing income gradient of child health, measured by height-for-age z scores. The gradient is robust to alternative specifications and a comprehensive set of controls. Using the fact that the rural tax reform implemented since 2000 created an exogenous variation in family income across regions and over time, we explore a causal explanation for the income gradient, and find that it has a very strong independent causal effect on child health.
    Keywords: child health, income gradient, rural tax reform
    JEL: I10 I12 O15
    Date: 2010–09
  3. By: Geyer, Johannes (DIW Berlin); Myck, Michal (Centre for Economic Analysis, CenEA)
    Abstract: We analyse the role of health in determining the difference between desired and actual hours of work in a sample of German men using the Socio-Economic Panel Data for years 1996-2007. The effects of both self-assessed health and legal disability status are examined. About 60% of employees report working more than they would wish with the mean difference of -3.9 hours/week. We estimate static and dynamic model specifications allowing for auto-regressive nature of the dependent variable and testing for the role of lagged health status. Important differences are found between east and west German Länder. In the west we find statistically significant role of general health measures in determining the disequilibrium. Employees in bad health want to work on average by about 0.4 hour/week less according to the static specification, and by about 1 hour/week less if dynamics of health and of the disequilibrium are taken into account. This is respectively 10% and 25% of the mean difference. We find no effects of legal disability status on the disequilibrium which we interpret as a reflection of stronger legal position of disabled employees. In both east and west we find significant state dependence in the hours disequilibrium.
    Keywords: hours worked, health, disability, labour market flexibility
    JEL: J21 J14
    Date: 2010–09
  4. By: Philippe Aghion
    Abstract: In this paper Brugel Non-Resident Fellow Philippe Aghion combines the Lucas and Nelson-Phelps approaches to human capital to give us a better understanding of the relationship between health and growth.
    Date: 2010–09
  5. By: Humphreys, Brad (University of Alberta, Department of Economics); Ruseski, Jane (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: The health benefits of participation in physical activity are well documented, yet the prevalence of meeting physical activity guidelines remains low. We examine the determinants of participation in physical activity in Canada by estimating double hurdle models of participation and time spent using data from the 2001 Canadian Community Health Survey (CHHS). We find higher income is associated with a higher probability of participating and less time spent in widely practiced sports like running and swimming, but the size of the income effect is relatively small. The hourly wage is generally positive and significant in both the participation and time spent equations suggesting a dominating income effect. Distinguishing between the extensive and intensive margins of the participation decision is important for untangling the effects of income, age, gender and family structure on these choices.
    Keywords: sport participation; physical activity; time allocation; opportunity cost of time
    JEL: I12 I18 J22 L83
    Date: 2010–08–26
  6. By: Paul A. David (Stanford University & All Souls College, Oxford); S. Ryan Johansson (Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Family Social Structure, Cambridge University); Andrea Pozzi (Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (Rome))
    Abstract: This paper details the statistical sources, methods and findings that underpin the demographic evidence offered by Johansson (2010) in support of her thesis regarding “Europe’s first knowledge-driven mortality transition,” namely the pronounced and sustained rise in the expectations of life that took place among the 17th and early 18th century birth cohorts of members of Britain’s royal families. The consequent interest in exposing the existence of systematic demographic effects of changes in the medical treatments and healthcare regimens received by this elite makes it germane to establish the statistical significance of a particular pattern of inter-cohort changes in the royals’ mortality experience – namely, one whose timing and age- and sexspecificity make it plausibly attributable to the historical improvements in the medical knowledge and practice of their doctors, as has been documented by Johansson (1999, 2010). Complete genealogical data for the members of Britain’s royal families born c. 1500 – c.1800, due to Weir (1996), permits construction of cohort life expectancy at birth and at age 25 for royal males, royal females, as well as for the small number of male monarchs, their female consorts and the queens. Inter-cohort comparisons of life table mortality schedules are obtained by using the 5-year average survival rate distributions for the successive birth cohorts to estimate for each cohort the parameters of Anson’s (1991) general model of age-specific mortality hazard rates – the empirical probability of dying within 5 years of age x, conditional on having survived to that age. A variety of tests show the gross changes of interest to be statistically significant. The discussion contrasts the mortality transition among the royal families’ members with the contemporaneous demographic experience of rural and urban segments of the English population at large.
    Date: 2010–08–15
  7. By: Asadul Islam; Paul Raschky; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: We find that taller people enjoy a higher quality of life at older ages in China. Implications are drawn for investment in health human capital in infancy and adolescence.
    Keywords: China, Height, Well-being
    JEL: I1 J14 O1
    Date: 2010–05
  8. By: Asadul Islam; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: In most developing countries children provide some form of insurance against risks when parents are old, which, in turn, justifies parental preference to have more children. In this paper, we examine the causal effect of number of children on several measures of health status of elderly parents using newly available China Health and Retirement Survey data. Because number of children in a family is not exogenously determined, we use a natural experiment (variations in China’s one child policy) and preferences for a son to account for exogenous variation in family size. We show that both variation in the one-child policy and having a first born child who is a daughter significantly increase the family size. Overall, our results suggest that having more children has a negative effect on self-reported parental health, but generally no effect on other measures of health. We find no difference between the effect of number of children on maternal and paternal health. We find some evidence that having an adult daughter living at home, or in close geographical proximity, has a positive effect on parental health. The results also suggest that upstream financial transfers have a positive effect on parental health.
    Keywords: Children, Parental Health, China, One-child policy, Sex preference
    JEL: O12 J13 I10
    Date: 2010–05
  9. By: Pushkar Maitra; Anu Rammohan; Ranjan Ray; Marie-Claire Robitaille
    Abstract: Despite its economic success, India has made little progress towards meeting its Millennium Development Goal targets of reducing undernourishment, particularly among children. Using nationally representative data, our analysis finds evidence of an improvement in the anthropometric measures of height-for-age, but a worsening in weight-for-height z-scores for children aged 0 – 3 over the period 1998 – 2006. There is also a worsening in both cereal consumption and calorie intake over this period, with some of the most noticeable declines taking place in households with children aged 0 – 3. This suggests a possible link between declining food intake and poor nutritional outcomes of children during this period.
    Keywords: India, Weight-for-height, Height-for-age, calorie consumption, expenditure patterns
    JEL: I12 C25 O12
    Date: 2010–05
  10. By: Ciliberto, Federico; Kuminoff, Nicolai
    Abstract: This paper investigates the large and unexpected increase in cigarette prices that followed the 1997 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). We integrate key features of rational addiction theory into a discrete-choice model of the demand for a differentiated product. We find that following the MSA firms set prices on a more elastic region of their demand curves. Using these estimates, we predict prices that would be charged under a variety of industry structures and pricing rules. Under the assumptions of firms’ perfect foresight and constant marginal costs, we fail to reject the hypothesis that firms collude on a dynamic pricing strategy.
    Keywords: Cigarettes; Master Settlement Agreement; Demand; Collusion; Rational Addiction.
    JEL: L13 L41 H32
    Date: 2010–07–17
  11. By: Paul, Hagstrom; Stephen, Wu
    Abstract: This paper uses data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to study the relationship between pregnancy and life satisfaction for women of childbearing age. The results show strong differences by race. Pregnancy has the strongest positive correlation with happiness for Whites, a smaller but still statistically significant positive correlation for Hispanics, and no relationship for Blacks. The results cannot be explained by differences in other demographics such age, income, education, or marital status. Within each racial group, the results hold across different categories for all these characteristics. There is evidence that racial differences in the effects of pregnancy on emotional and social support from others can partly explain this result.
    Keywords: pregnancy; life satisfaction; racial differences
    JEL: J10 I10
    Date: 2010–09

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