nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2010‒12‒04
eleven papers chosen by
Yong Yin
SUNY at Buffalo, USA

  1. Longevity, Growth and Intergenerational Equity - The Deterministic Case By Torben M. Andersen; Marias H. Gestsson
  2. Is Posner Right? An Empirical Test of the Posner Argument for Transferring Health Spending from Old Women to Old Men By Johannes Schwarze; Christoph Wunder
  3. Federal Nutrition Programs and Childhood Obesity: Inside the Black Box By Roy, Manan; Millimet, Daniel L.; Tchernis, Rusty
  4. The Effects of Childhood Health on Adult Health and SES in China By Smith, James P.; Shen, Yan; Strauss, John; Zhe, Yang; Zhao, Yaohui
  5. Part-time Sick Leave as a Treatment for Individuals with Mental Disorders? By Andrén, Daniela
  6. Disability Insurance, Population Health and Employment in Sweden By Jönsson, Lisa; Palme, Mårten; Svensson, Ingemar
  7. Health, Happiness and Adaptation: an economic perspective By Antonio Bariletti; Guido Citoni
  8. Partnerships with the Private Sector in Health: What the International Community Can Do to Strengthen Health Systems in Developing Countries By (Centre for Global Development) Advisory Faculty
  9. Risk Aversion and the Value of Risk to Life. By Bommier, Antoine; Villeneuve, Bertrand
  10. Does Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Discriminate against Patients with Short Life Expectancy? By Mike Paulden; Anthony J. Culyer
  11. Parental Health Events and Children’s Skill Development By Morefield, Brant

  1. By: Torben M. Andersen (School of Economics and Management, Aarhus University, Denmark); Marias H. Gestsson (Central Bank of Iceland)
    Abstract: Challenges raised by ageing (increasing longevity) have prompted policy debates featuring policy proposals justified by reference to some notion of intergenerational equity. However, very different policies ranging from pre-savings to indexation of retirement ages have been justified in this way. We develop an overlapping generations model in continuous time which encompasses different generations with different mortality rates and thus longevity. Allowing for both trend increases in longevity and productivity, we address the issue of intergenerational equity under a utilitarian criterion when future generations are better off in terms of both material and non-material well being. Increases in productivity and longevity are shown to have very different implications for intergenerational distribution.
    Keywords: OLG models, demographics, longevity, taxes, transfers, retirement age, dependency ratio, healthy ageing, decentralization
    JEL: J11
    Date: 2010–11–29
  2. By: Johannes Schwarze; Christoph Wunder
    Abstract: Posner (1995) proposes the redistribution of health spending from old women to old men to equalize life expectancy. His argument is based on the assumption that the woman’s utility is higher if her husband is alive. Using self-reported satisfaction measures from a long-running German panel survey, the Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), the present study conducts an empirical test of this assumption. Our matching-based estimation reveals satisfaction trajectories of women who experience the death of their spouse and identifies the causal effect of widowhood. The average level of satisfaction in a control group of non-widowed women serves as a reference to measure the degree of adaptation to widowhood. The results suggest bereavement has no enduring effect on satisfaction, and that is evidence against Posner’s assumption.
    Keywords: widowhood, adaptation, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, satisfaction with household income, propensity score matching
    JEL: C14 D10 I31
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Roy, Manan (Southern Methodist University); Millimet, Daniel L. (Southern Methodist University); Tchernis, Rusty (Georgia State University)
    Abstract: In response to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, particularly among low income individuals, federal nutrition assistance programs have come under scrutiny. However, the vast majority of this research focuses on the direct relationship between these programs and child health, while little is known about the mechanisms by which such relationships arise. Using the 2007 American Time Use Survey and the Eating and Health Module, we explore differences in time use across families that participate in the Supplemental Nutriation Assistance Program (SNAP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to better understand behavioral differences across participants and non-participants. These differences have important implications for future research and policy.
    Keywords: School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, time use, program evaluation
    JEL: C31 H51 I18 I28
    Date: 2010–11
  4. By: Smith, James P. (RAND); Shen, Yan (Peking University); Strauss, John (University of Southern California); Zhe, Yang (University of California, Davis); Zhao, Yaohui (Peking University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we model the consequences of childhood health on adult health and socio-economic status outcomes in China using a new sample of middle aged and older Chinese respondents. Modeled after the American Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), the CHARLS Pilot survey respondents are forty-five years and older in two quite distinct provinces – Zhejiang, a high growth industrialized province on the East Coast, and Gansu, a largely agricultural and poor province in the West. Childhood health in CHARLS relies on two measures that proxy for different dimensions of health during the childhood years. The first is a retrospective self-evaluation using a standard five-point scale (excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor) of general state of one’s health when one was less than 16 years old. The second is adult height often thought to be a good measure of levels of nutrition during early childhood and the prenatal period. We relate both these childhood health measures to adult health and SES outcomes during the adult years. We find strong effects of childhood health on adult health outcomes particularly among Chinese women and strong effects on adult BMI particularly for Chinese men.
    Keywords: childhood health, China
    JEL: H00
    Date: 2010–11
  5. By: Andrén, Daniela (Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics)
    Abstract: It has been suggested that using, when possible, part-time sick leave (PTSL) rather than full-time sick leave (FTSL) for employees diagnosed with a mental disorder (MD) decreases their likelihood of being on sick leave for long periods. However, no study has analyzed this "treatment". Using a one-factor loadings model and a sample of 627 employees on sick leave due to an MD diagnosis, we estimate the impact of the PTSL "treatment" on the probability of full recovery of lost work capacity. The results indicate that employees with an MD diagnosis assigned to PTSL after 60 days of FTSL have a relatively high probability of full recovery. More exactly, the average treatment effect of PTSL is relatively low (0.015) when assigned in the beginning of the spell, but relatively high (0.387), and statistically significant, when assigned after 60 days of FTSL.
    Keywords: Part-time sick leave; mental disorders; one-factor loadings model
    JEL: I12 J21 J28
    Date: 2010–11–22
  6. By: Jönsson, Lisa (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Palme, Mårten (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University); Svensson, Ingemar (Swedish Pensions Agency)
    Abstract: This paper describes the development of population health and disability insurance utilization for older workers in Sweden and analyses the relation between the two. We use three different measures of population health: (1) the mortality rate (measured between 1950 and 2009); (2) the prevalence of different types of health deficiencies obtained from Statistics Sweden’s Survey on Living Conditions (ULF, 1975-2005); (3) the utilization of health care from the inpatient register (1968–2008). We also study the development of the relative health between disability insurance recipients and non-recipients. Finally, we study the effect of the introduction of less strict eligibility criteria for older workers in 1970 and 1972 as well as the subsequent abolishment of these rules in 1991 and 1997, respectively.
    Keywords: Disability insurance; Population health
    JEL: H51 H55 I18 J26
    Date: 2010–11–25
  7. By: Antonio Bariletti (University of Cassino); Guido Citoni (University of Rome "La Sapienza")
    Date: 2010–11–29
  8. By: (Centre for Global Development) Advisory Faculty
    Abstract: The private sector plays a significant role in delivering health care to people in developing countries. By some estimates, more than one-half of all health care—even to the poorest people—is provided by private doctors, other health workers, drug sellers, and other non-state actors.This reality creates problems and potential. By and large, developing-country health policy and donor-supported health programs fail to address the problems, or capture the potential of the private sector in health. Interest is growing, within the donor community and among policymakers in developing-country governments, to find ways to work with the private sector to accelerate progress toward high-priority health objectives.
    Keywords: private, sector, significant, health care, developing, health worker, drug seller, policy, potential interest, policymaker, developing country
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Bommier, Antoine; Villeneuve, Bertrand
    Abstract: The standard literature on the value of life relies on Yaari’s (1965) model, which includes an implicit assumption of risk neutrality with respect to life duration. To overpass this limitation, we extend the theory to a simple variety of nonadditively separable preferences. The enlargement we propose is relevant for the evaluation of life-saving programs: current practice, we estimate, puts too little weight on mortality risk reduction of the young. Our correction exceeds in magnitude that introduced by the switch from the notion of number of lives saved to the notion of years of life saved.
    Keywords: Life Insurance; Lifecycle Behavior; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Value of Statistical Life;
    JEL: D91 D81 D61 J17 I18
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Mike Paulden (Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) Collaborative, University of Toronto, Canada); Anthony J. Culyer (Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Canada; Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, UK; Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis (RCEA), Italy)
    Abstract: Does the use of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) in cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) of health care interventions necessarily discriminate against patients with short life expectancy compared with others? This paper reviews the arguments both that it does and that it does not, and demonstrates that whether the use of any time-dependent outcome measure in CEA will result in discrimination depends, in the context of any given choice between interventions, upon the choice of cost-effectiveness ‘threshold’ adopted by the decision maker, whether the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of the intervention for a subgroup of patients with relatively short life expectancy lies above the cost-effectiveness threshold, and whether the ICER for a subgroup of patients with longer life expectancy falls below the cost-effectiveness threshold. For discrimination to result against such patients requires that the long term ratio of costs to QALYs associated with the intervention be lower than the short term ratio of costs to QALYs. The implications for agencies which use CEA as part of their decision making are then discussed.
    Date: 2010–01
  11. By: Morefield, Brant (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper examines parents and children in the longitudinal Panel Study of Income Dynamics and PSID-Child Development Supplement to identify how a child's level of skills is affected by the onset of a negative parental health event. I estimate effects for two measures of health events—the diagnosis of one of eleven specific health conditions and an unspecified physical or nervous condition—each of which are reported to limit the activities of the parent. For both measures of health events, the analysis suggests that the onset of a parental health event has, on average, small negative effects on the level of children's noncognitive skills. However, small average effects mask heterogeneous effects across: the sex of the parent, sex of the child, and the type of health condition. Specifically, parental health events are estimated to significantly impair noncognitive skill development when a father is afflicted with a health event, affect sons more negatively than daughters, and are worse for certain—vascular or cancerous—conditions. Further exploration suggests that effects of parental health events on skill investments are driven by the hypothesized mechanism, changes in skill investments. Specifically, when parental health events are estimated to create the poorest behavior outcomes, large reductions in one measure of skill investment, time that parents participate in activities with children, is also commonly found.
    Keywords: parental health; skills; children
    JEL: I10 J24
    Date: 2010–11–22

This nep-hea issue is ©2010 by Yong Yin. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.