nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2020‒05‒18
twenty-six papers chosen by
Nicolas R. Ziebarth
Cornell University

  1. The effects of day care on health during childhood: evidence by age. By van den Berg, Gerard J.; Siflinger, Bettina M.
  2. The Value of Health Insurance during a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality By Karen Clay; Joshua A. Lewis; Edson R. Severnini; Xiao Wang
  3. Cigarette Taxes and Smoking in the Long Run By Friedson, Andrew I.; Rees, Daniel I.
  4. Does Information Disclosure Improve Consumer Knowledge? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment of Restaurant Menu Calorie Labels By John Cawley; Alex M. Susskind; Barton Willage
  5. Physician Prices and Competition: Evidence from Acquisitions in the Private Health Care Sector By Saxell, Tanja; Nurminen, Mikko
  6. The Role of Place and Income in Life Expectancy Inequality: Evidence from Hungary By Anikó Bíró; Tamás Hajdu; Gábor Kertesi; Dániel Prinz
  7. Feeling Good or Feeling Better? By Prati, Alberto; Senik, Claudia
  8. Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression By Giulietti, Corrado; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Zenou, Yves
  9. Echo Effects of Early-Life Health Shocks: The Intergenerational Consequences of Prenatal Malnutrition during the Great Leap Forward Famine in China By Li, Jinhu; Menon, Nidhiya
  10. Spillover Effects of Retirement: does health vulnerability matter? By Dominic Byrne; Do Won Kwak; Kam Ki Tang; Myra Yazbeck
  11. Economic downturns and mental wellbeing By Avdic, Daniel; de New, Sonja C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.
  12. Americans' perceptions of privacy and surveillance in the COVID-19 Pandemic By Zhang, Baobao; Kreps, Sarah E.; McMurry, Nina
  13. Where are the missing emergencies? Lockdown and health risk during the pandemic By Jorge Alé-Chilet; Juan Pablo Atal; Patricio Domínguez
  14. The Impact of the Wuhan Covid-19 Lockdown on Air Pollution and Health: A Machine Learning and Augmented Synthetic Control Approach By Matthew A Cole; Robert J R Elliott; Bowen Liu
  15. Expected Health Effects of Reduced Air Pollution from COVID-19 Social Distancing By Steve Cicala; Stephen P. Holland; Erin T. Mansur; Nicholas Z. Muller; Andrew J. Yates
  16. How to survey citizens’ compliance with COVID-19 public health measures? Evidence from three survey experiments By Daoust, Jean-François; Nadeau, Richard; Dassonneville, Ruth; Lachapelle, Erick; Bélanger, Éric; Savoie, Justin; van der Linden, Clifton
  17. COVID-19 Crisis Fuels Hostility against Foreigners By Bartos, Vojtech; Bauer, Michal; Cahlíková, Jana; Chytilová, Julie
  18. The Short-Term Economic Consequences of COVID-19: Occupation Tasks and Mental Health in Canada By Béland, Louis-Philippe; Brodeur, Abel; Mikola, Derek; Wright, Taylor
  19. Sectoral Impact of COVID-19: Cascading Risks By Sophie Osotimehin; Latchezar Popov
  20. Wealth distribution under the spread of infectious diseases By G. Dimarco; L. Pareschi; G. Toscani; M. Zanella
  21. Occupational exposure to contagion and the spread of COVID-19 in Europe By Piotr Lewandowski
  22. What role might the social outcomes of education play during the COVID-19 lockdown ? By OECD
  23. Effect of a Federal Paid Sick Leave Mandate on Working and Staying at Home: Evidence from Cellular Device Data By Martin Andersen; Johanna Catherine Maclean; Michael F. Pesko; Kosali I. Simon
  24. Is the Cure Worse than the Problem Itself? Immediate Labor Market Effects of COVID-19 Case Rates and School Closures in the U.S. By Felipe Lozano Rojas; Xuan Jiang; Laura Montenovo; Kosali I. Simon; Bruce A. Weinberg; Coady Wing
  25. ‘All In’: A Pragmatic Framework for COVID-19 Testing and Action on a Global Scale By Pettit, Syril D; Jerome, Keith; Rouquie, David; Hester, Susan; Wehmas, Leah; Mari, Bernard; Barbry, Pascal; Kanda, Yasunari; Matsumoto, Mineo; Botten, Jason
  26. Impacts of Social and Economic Factors on the Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China By Qiu, Yun; Chen, Xi; Shi, Wei

  1. By: van den Berg, Gerard J. (University of Bristol); Siflinger, Bettina M. (University of Bristol)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of day care exposure on behavioral problems and mental health as well as on various aspects of physical health, at various ages during childhood. We draw on a unique set of comprehensive individual-level out-patient and inpatient health care register data from Sweden over the period 1999-2008 merged with other population register data. By exploiting variation in daycare exposure by age generated by a major day care policy reform, we estimate cumulative and instantaneous effects on child health at different ages. We find beneficial cumulative impacts on behavioral and mental health at primary school ages, and substitution of the incidence of infections from primary school ages to low ages. The evidence suggests that the behavioral effects are mostly driven by children from low socio-economic households. Day care usage affects health care utilization and leads to a moderate reduction in health care costs
    Keywords: Health; day care
    JEL: I10
    Date: 2020–04–20
  2. By: Karen Clay; Joshua A. Lewis; Edson R. Severnini; Xiao Wang
    Abstract: This paper studies how better access to public health insurance affects infant mortality during pandemics. Our analysis combines cross-state variation in mandated eligibility for Medicaid with two influenza pandemics — the 1957-58 "Asian Flu" pandemic and the 1968-69 "Hong Kong Flu" — that arrived shortly before and after the program's introduction. Exploiting heterogeneity in the underlying severity of these two shocks across counties, we find no relationship between Medicaid eligibility and pandemic infant mortality during the 1957-58 outbreak. After Medicaid implementation, we find that better access to insurance in high-eligibility states substantially reduced infant mortality during the 1968-69 pandemic. The reductions in pandemic infant mortality are too large to be attributable solely to new Medicaid recipients, suggesting that the expansion in health insurance coverage mitigated disease transmission among the broader population.
    JEL: I13 I18 N32 N52
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: Friedson, Andrew I. (University of Colorado Denver); Rees, Daniel I. (University of Colorado Denver)
    Abstract: Researchers have focused on the contemporaneous relationship between cigarette taxes and smoking, while the longer-run effects of cigarette taxes have received little attention. Using individual-level panel data from 1970-2017, we estimate the effects of cigarette taxes experienced as a teenager on smoking later in life. We find that a one-dollar increase in the cigarette tax experienced between the ages of 12 and 17 is associated with substantial reductions in smoking participation and intensity among adults in their 20s through mid-60s. Among first-time mothers, it is associated with a reduction in the likelihood of smoking the year of giving birth.
    Keywords: smoking, cigarette taxes, long run
    JEL: H2 I10 I12
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: John Cawley; Alex M. Susskind; Barton Willage
    Abstract: The United States, in 2018, implemented a nationwide requirement that chain restaurants disclose calorie information on their menus and menu boards. This law was motivated by concern that consumers underestimate the number of calories in restaurant food, but it remains unclear the extent to which this information disclosure affects consumer knowledge. This paper fills that gap by estimating the impact of information disclosure on consumer knowledge through a randomized controlled field experiment of calorie labels on the menus of a full-service restaurant. The results indicate that information disclosure significantly reduces the extent to which consumers underestimate the number of calories in restaurant food; the labels improve the accuracy of consumers’ post-meal estimates of the number of calories they ordered by 4.0 percent and reduces by 28.9% the probability of underestimating the calories in one’s meal by 50% or more, both of which are statistically significant. However, even after information disclosure, there remains considerable error in consumer beliefs about the calorie content of the restaurant food they ordered. Even among the treatment group who received calorie labels, the average absolute value of percent error in their report is 34.2%.
    JEL: D8 D83 H0 I1 I12 I14 I18 I24 K2 Q18
    Date: 2020–05
  5. By: Saxell, Tanja; Nurminen, Mikko
    Abstract: We consider the effects of mergers and acquisitions for private physicians, who compete for patients on price. To estimate the effects, we use nationwide administrative data on private physicians and the organization of their practice over 10 years in Finland. We show that acquisitions can reduce competition among physicians, leading to higher prices. We estimate the strongest price increase to be in gynecology, in which switching costs and inertia in physician choice may decrease physician competition, at least locally (within a health care unit). The reduction in the number of physicians in a target unit is the key mechanism behind the estimated effect.
    Keywords: physicians, mergers and acquisitions, market power, private health care, independent contractors, Local public finance and provision of public services,
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Anikó Bíró (Health and Population Lendület Research Group, Centre for Economic and Regional); Tamás Hajdu (Health and Population Lendület Research Group (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies)); Gábor Kertesi (Health and Population Lendület Research Group (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies)); Dániel Prinz (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Using mortality registers and administrative data on incomes and population, we develop new evidence on the magnitudes and sources of life expectancy inequality in Hungary. We document considerable inequality across geographies and income groups, and show that inequality has increased between 1991-2016. We show that avoidable deaths play a large role in life expectancy inequality. Income-related geographic inequalities in health behaviors, access to care, and healthcare use are all strongly correlated with the inequality in life expectancy.
    Keywords: life expectancy; income inequality; administrative data; time trend
    JEL: I14 I12 J10
    Date: 2020–04
  7. By: Prati, Alberto (Aix-Marseille University); Senik, Claudia (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: Can people remember correctly their past well-being? We study three national surveys of the British, German and French population, where more than 50,000 European citizens were asked questions about their current and past life satisfaction. We uncover systematic biases in recalled subjective well- being: on average, people tend to overstate the improvement in their well-being over time and to understate their past happiness. But this aggregate figure hides a deep asymmetry: while happy people recall the evolution of their life to be better than it was, unhappy ones tend to exaggerate its worsening. It thus seems that feeling happy today implies feeling better than yesterday. These results offer an explanation of why happy people are more optimistic, perceive risks to be lower and are more open to new experiences.
    Keywords: memory biases, remembered utility, life satisfaction, intra-personal comparisons
    JEL: I31 D91
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Giulietti, Corrado; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: We provide first evidence that peer depression in adolescence affects own depression in adulthood. We use data from Add Health and an identification strategy that relies on within-school and across-cohort idiosyncratic variation in the share of own-gender peers who are depressed. We find a significant peer effect for females but not for males. An increase of one standard deviation of the share of own-gender peers (schoolmates) who are depressed increases the probability of depression in adulthood by 2.6 percentage points for females (or 11.5% of mean depression). We also find that the peer effect is already present in the short term when girls are still in school and provide evidence for why it persists over time. Further analysis reveals that individuals from families with a lower socioeconomic background are more susceptible to peer influence, thereby suggesting that family can function as a buffer. Our findings underscore the importance of peer relationships in adolescence with regard to the development of long-lasting depression in women.
    Keywords: Peer effects,depression,contagion,gender,family background,adolescence,policy
    JEL: I12 Z13
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Li, Jinhu (Deakin University); Menon, Nidhiya (Brandeis University)
    Abstract: Few studies have examined the "echo effect" of early-life shocks related to prenatal malnutrition, that is, whether the legacy of such shocks is transmitted to the next generation. This study addresses this gap by leveraging extreme malnutrition during the Great Leap Forward famine in China, and by examining the intergenerational consequences of the famine on those who were not directly impacted. Using a difference-in-differences framework, we estimate the causal effect of the famine on a wide range of outcomes of children of mothers who were exposed in-utero including income, education, employment, and intergenerational income mobility; indicators that have not been considered in detail in the literature. We further contribute by using a refined measure of famine exposure at the prefecture level in rural areas, and by exploiting rich data on those directly affected and their children. We find that on average, the famine had negative echo effects on second-generation outcomes. These echo effects are primarily due to the adverse impacts on daughters, perhaps reflecting a combination of positive selection of sons born to mothers exposed to prenatal malnutrition during the famine and cultural aspects such as son preference. Our results withstand a battery of robustness and specification checks.
    Keywords: foetal origins, great leap forward famine, malnutrition, intergenerational impacts, labour market, China
    JEL: I15 J62 I32 P36 N45
    Date: 2020–04
  10. By: Dominic Byrne (School of Economics, University of Queensland); Do Won Kwak (Graduate School of International Studies, Korea University, Seoul, Korea); Kam Ki Tang (School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia); Myra Yazbeck (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Canada; School of Economics, University of Queensland)
    Abstract: The current literature investigating the impact of retirement and the associated spousal spillover effects overlooks the unintended effects of retirement on spouses in vulnerable health, namely spouses with long-term health conditions. In this paper, we fill this gap in the literature and investigate the impact of an individual’s retirement on their partner’s health outcomes when their partners have long-term health conditions. Given the inherent identification challenges associated with entry into retirement, we exploit an exogenous variation to pension-qualifying age in Australia. Using a Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design and data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, we find that the retirement of the husband has a positive impact on the wife’s Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) and other physical and mental health outcomes. Drawing upon the literature on QALY and cost-effectiveness thresholds, we estimate that the dollar value of the husband-to-wife spillovers could be worth somewhere between AUD8,354 and AUD25,062.
    Keywords: Spillovers; Retirement; Long-term Health Conditions; Regression Discontinuity Design
    Date: 2020–05–06
  11. By: Avdic, Daniel; de New, Sonja C.; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.
    Abstract: We study the impact of the business cycle on mental wellbeing by linking rich German survey data to over a decade of detailed gross domestic product information. Endogeneity concerns are tackled using a shift-share instrumental variables approach in which exposure to macroeconomic fluctuations is estimated from regional variations in historical industry sector composition. Estimation results reveal strong negative effects of economic downturns on both life satisfaction and a multidimensional measure of mental health. We provide evidence that these effects are mediated by fear of job loss and income reductions, while actual unemployment effects are negligible. A case study of the impact of the global financial crisis reveals that adverse effects on mental wellbeing are persistent and remained even after the economy recovered.
    Keywords: business cycle,mental health,life satisfaction,global financial crisis,shift-share instrument
    JEL: C36 E32 I15
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Zhang, Baobao (Yale University); Kreps, Sarah E.; McMurry, Nina
    Abstract: As COVID-19 continues to spread, public health authorities have implemented or plan to implement smartphone apps to supplement traditional contact tracing. Experts suggest that at least 60% of the public would need to use these apps for them to be effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Yet fears that these apps would violate users' privacy by expanding governments' and tech companies' surveillance capacity may limit adoption. We study Americans' attitudes toward smartphone contact tracing apps and public health surveillance policies using a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. adults (N=2,612). We find widespread reluctance among the public: support for contact tracing apps is lower than for expanding traditional contact tracing or introducing new measures like temperature checks and centralized quarantine. Using a conjoint analysis experiment embedded in the survey, we find that privacy-preserving features, including non-location tracking and decentralized data storage, increases the public's acceptance of contact tracing apps. Within the population, those with pre-existing health conditions or who know someone who had been COVID-19 positive were more likely to support the tool, suggesting that support will grow as cases increase. Despite significant partisan splits on most issues, Democrats and Republicans converge on levels of support for contact tracing apps, suggesting that bipartisan elite cues could work to augment support. Overall, we found sizable amounts of concern about privacy and misunderstanding about the technology used. Public education campaigns are much needed before states deploy contact tracing apps.
    Date: 2020–05–12
  13. By: Jorge Alé-Chilet (Bar-Ilan University); Juan Pablo Atal (University of Pennsylvania); Patricio Domínguez (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: Health care practitioners around the globe have observed that the COVID-19 crisis has been associated with an unprecedented decrease in non-COVID-19 visits to emergency departments. We corroborate this observation using administrative daily data from Chile and study the potential causes for this decrease. To that end, we merge regional emergency visits with Google mobility data and show that the crisis-induced changes in mobility patterns explain a significant portion of the overall drop in non-respiratory emergency room visits, especially for visits related to trauma and poisoning. Our results reveal that an important reason for the dramatic drop in non-COVID-19 utilization of emergency care is the lower incidence of emergencies. This result suggests that lockdown measures may have the unexpected benefit for public health of freeing up healthcare resources to confront the pandemic.
    Keywords: Emergency, COVID-19, hospitals
    Date: 2020–04–29
  14. By: Matthew A Cole (University of Birmingham); Robert J R Elliott (University of Birmingham); Bowen Liu (University of Birmingham)
    Abstract: We quantify the impact of the Wuhan Covid-19 lockdown on concentrations of four air pollutants using a two-step approach. First, we use machine learning to remove the confounding effects of weather conditions on pollution concentrations. Second, we use a new Augmented Synthetic Control Method (Ben-Michael et al. 2019) to estimate the impact of the lockdown on weather normalised pollution relative to a control group of cities that were not in lockdown. We find NO2 concentrations fell by as much as 24 ug/m3 during the lockdown (a reduction of 63% from the pre-lockdown level), while PM10 concentrations fell by a similar amount but for a shorter period. The lockdown had no discernible impact on concentrations of SO2 or CO. We calculate that the reduction of NO2 concentrations could have prevented as many as 496 deaths in Wuhan city, 3,368 deaths in Hubei province and 10,822 deaths in China as a whole.
    Keywords: Air pollution, Covid-19, machine learning, synthetic control, health.
    JEL: Q53 Q52 I18 I15 C21 C23
    Date: 2020–05
  15. By: Steve Cicala; Stephen P. Holland; Erin T. Mansur; Nicholas Z. Muller; Andrew J. Yates
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in stay-at-home policies and other social distancing behaviors in the United States in spring of 2020. This paper examines the impact that these actions had on emissions and expected health effects through reduced personal vehicle travel and electricity consumption. Using daily cell phone mobility data for each U.S. county, we find that vehicle travel dropped about 40% by mid-April across the nation. States that imposed stay-at-home policies before March 28 decreased travel slightly more than other states, but travel in all states decreased significantly. Using data on hourly electricity consumption by electricity region (e.g., balancing authority), we find that electricity consumption fell about six percent on average by mid-April with substantial heterogeneity. Given these decreases in travel and electricity use, we estimate the county-level expected improvements in air quality, and therefore expected declines in mortality. Overall, we estimate that, for a month of social distancing, the expected premature deaths due to air pollution from personal vehicle travel and electricity consumption declined by approximately 360 deaths, or about 25% of the baseline 1500 deaths. In addition, we estimate that CO2 emissions from these sources fell by 46 million metric tons (a reduction of approximately 19%) over the same time frame.
    JEL: Q4 Q5
    Date: 2020–05
  16. By: Daoust, Jean-François; Nadeau, Richard; Dassonneville, Ruth; Lachapelle, Erick; Bélanger, Éric (McGill University); Savoie, Justin; van der Linden, Clifton
    Abstract: The extent to which citizens comply with newly-enacted public health measures such as social distancing or lockdowns strongly affects the propagation of the virus and the number of deaths from COVID-19. It is however very difficult to identify non-compliance through survey research because claiming to follow the rules is socially desirable. Using three survey experiments, we examine the efficacy of different “face-saving” questions that aim to reduce social desirability in the measurement of compliance with public health measures. Our treatments soften the social norm of compliance by way of a short preamble in combination with a guilty-free answer choice making it easier for respondents to admit non-compliance. We find that self-reported non-compliance increases by up to 11 percentage points when making use of a face-saving question. Considering the current context and the importance of measuring non-compliance, we argue that researchers around the world should adopt our most efficient face-saving question.
    Date: 2020–04–29
  17. By: Bartos, Vojtech (University of Munich); Bauer, Michal (Charles University, Prague); Cahlíková, Jana (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance); Chytilová, Julie (Charles University, Prague)
    Abstract: Intergroup conflicts represent one of the most pressing problems facing human society. Sudden spikes in aggressive behavior, including pogroms, often take place during periods of economic hardship or health pandemics, but little is known about the underlying mechanism behind such change in behavior. Many scholars attribute it to scapegoating, a psychological need to redirect anger and to blame an out-group for hardship and problems beyond one's own control. However, causal evidence of whether hardship triggers out-group hostility has been lacking. Here we test this idea in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on the common concern that it may foster nationalistic sentiments and racism. Using a controlled money-burning task, we elicited hostile behavior among a nationally representative sample (n = 2,186) in a Central European country, at a time when the entire population was under lockdown and border closure. We find that exogenously elevating salience of thoughts related to Covid-19 pandemic magnifies hostility and discrimination against foreigners, especially from Asia. This behavioral response is large in magnitude and holds across various demographic sub-groups. For policy, the results underscore the importance of not inflaming racist sentiments and suggest that efforts to recover international trade and cooperation will need to address both social and economic damage.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, scapegoating, hostility, inter-group conflict, discrimination, experiment
    JEL: C90 D01 D63 D91 J15
    Date: 2020–05
  18. By: Béland, Louis-Philippe (Carleton University); Brodeur, Abel (University of Ottawa); Mikola, Derek (Carleton University); Wright, Taylor (University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: In this paper, we document the short-term impact of COVID-19 on labour market outcomes in Canada. Following a pre-analysis plan, we investigate the negative impact of the pandemic on unemployment, labour force participation, hours and wages in Canada. We find that COVID-19 had drastic negative effects on labour market outcomes, with the largest effects for younger, not married, and less educated workers. We investigate whether the economic consequences of this pandemic were larger for certain occupations. We then built indices for whether (1) workers are relatively more exposed to disease, (2) work with proximity to coworkers, (3) are essential workers, and (4) can easily work remotely. Our estimates suggest that the impact of the pandemic was significantly more severe for workers more exposed to disease and workers that work in proximity to coworkers, while the effects are significantly less severe for essential workers and workers that can work remotely. Last, we rely on a unique survey, the Canadian Perspective Survey, and show that reported mental health is significantly lower among the most affected workers during the pandemic. We also find that those who were absent form work because of COVID-19 are more concerned with meeting their financial obligations and with losing their job than those who remain working outside of home, while those who transition from working outside the home to from home are not as concerned with job loss.
    Keywords: COVID-19, unemployment, wages, remote work, essential workers, exposure to disease
    JEL: I15 I18 J21
    Date: 2020–05
  19. By: Sophie Osotimehin; Latchezar Popov
    Abstract: Workers are unequal in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: Those who work in essential sectors face higher health risk whereas those in non-essential social-consumption sectors face greater economic risk. We study how these health and economic risks cascade into other sectors through supply chains and demand linkages. In the U.S., we find the cascading effects account for about 25-30% of the exposure to both risks. The cascading effect increases the health risk faced by workers in the transportation and retail sectors, and it increases the economic risk faced by workers in the textile and petroleum sectors. We provide sectoral estimates of the health and economic risk for 42 other countries in an online interactive document.
    Keywords: COVID-19; Input-output; Production network; Demand complementarity; Demand shocks
    JEL: E24 E23 D57
    Date: 2020–05–07
  20. By: G. Dimarco; L. Pareschi; G. Toscani; M. Zanella
    Abstract: We develop a mathematical framework to study the economic impact of infectious diseases by integrating epidemiological dynamics with a kinetic model of wealth exchange. The multi-agent description leads to study the evolution over time of a system of kinetic equations for the wealth densities of susceptible, infectious and recovered individuals, whose proportions are driven by a classical compartmental model in epidemiology. Explicit calculations show that the spread of the disease seriously affects the distribution of wealth, which, unlike the situation in the absence of epidemics, can converge towards a stationary state with a bimodal form. Furthermore, simulations confirm the ability of the model to describe different phenomena characteristics of economic trends in situations compromised by the rapid spread of an epidemic, such as the unequal impact on the various wealth classes and the risk of a shrinking middle class.
    Date: 2020–04
  21. By: Piotr Lewandowski
    Abstract: Social contacts are a key transmission channel of infectious diseases spread by the respiratory or close-contact route, such as COVID-19. There is no evidence, however, on the question of whether the nature and the organisation of work affect the spread of COVID-19 in different countries. I have developed a methodology to measure country-specific levels of occupational exposure to contagion driven by social contacts. I combined six indicators based on Occupation Information Network (O*NET) and the European Working Condition Survey (EWCS) data. I then applied them to 26 European countries, and found substantial cross-country differences in levels of exposure to contagion in comparable occupations. The resulting country-level measures of levels of exposure to contagion (excluding health professions) predict the growth in COVID-19 cases, and the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the early stage of pandemic (up to four weeks after the 100th case). The relationship between levels of occupational exposure to contagion and the spread of COVID-19 is particularly strong for workers aged 45-64. I found that 20-25% of the cross-country variance in numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths can be attributed to cross-country differences in levels of occupational exposure to contagion in European countries. My findings are robust to controlling for the stringency of containment policies, such as lockdowns and school closures. They are also driven by country-specific patterns of social contacts at work, rather than by occupational structures. Thus, I conclude that measuring workplace interactions may help to predict the next waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Keywords: COVID-19, contagion, exposure to disease, occupations, organisation of work
    JEL: J01 I10 J44
    Date: 2020–05
  22. By: OECD
    Abstract: While the economic benefits of education have been demonstrated in a number of areas, greater educational attainment is also positively associated with a variety of social outcomes that are important during the COVID-19 outbreak. Data collected before the outbreak show that people with a tertiary degree are less likely to report suffering from depression and they are more likely to be in contact with their friends and family physically and through the Internet. During the confinement period, the positive social outcomes of education are more important than ever in equipping individuals to face the crisis. Good mental health, a strong social network and a healthy lifestyle are all associated with the choices individuals made prior to COVID-19, and their choice of whether to continue with their education or not will have been amongst the most important.
    Date: 2020–05–12
  23. By: Martin Andersen; Johanna Catherine Maclean; Michael F. Pesko; Kosali I. Simon
    Abstract: We study the effects of the temporary federal paid sick leave mandate that became effective April 1st, 2020 on ‘social distancing,’ as proxied by physical mobility behavior gleaned from cellular devices. The national paid leave policy was implemented in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and provided many private and many public employees, including individuals employed in the gig economy, with up to two weeks of paid leave. We study the early impact of the federal paid sick leave policy using interrupted time series analyses and difference-in-differences methods leveraging pre-FFCRA county-level differences in mobility. Our proxies for the ability to social distance are the share of cellular devices that are located in the workplace eight or more hours per day (‘full-time work’) and leave the home for less than one hour per day (‘at home’) in each county. Our findings suggest that the federal mandate decreased our full-time work proxy and increased our at home proxy. In particular, we find an initial decrease in working full-time of 17.7% and increase in staying home of 7.5%, with effects dissipating within three weeks. Given that up to 47% of employees are covered by the federal mandate, our effect sizes are arguably non-trivial.
    JEL: H0 I1 J0 K0
    Date: 2020–05
  24. By: Felipe Lozano Rojas; Xuan Jiang; Laura Montenovo; Kosali I. Simon; Bruce A. Weinberg; Coady Wing
    Abstract: The relationship between population health and measures of economic well-being and economic activity is a long standing topic in health economics (Preston, 1975; Cutler, Deaton, and Lleras-Muney, 2006; Ruhm, 2000). The conceptual issues in analyzing the complicated link between health and economic well-being are central to understanding the implications of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States The public health shock of the epidemic has direct economic impacts, but the mitigation policies governments are using to control the spread of the virus may also damage economic activity. We estimate how state job market conditions respond to state COVID-19 infections and school closures, which are the earliest of the major mitigation policies. Mitigation policies and local epidemiological conditions explain some of the variation in unemployment patterns. However, the historically unprecedented increase in new UI claims during the weeks of March 15-21 and March 22-28 was largely across-the-board and occurred in all states. This suggests most of the economic disruption was driven by the health shock itself. Put differently, it appears that the labor market slowdown was due primarily to a nationwide response to evolving epidemiological conditions and that individual state policies and own epidemiologic situations have had a comparatively modest effect.
    JEL: I1 J2 J6
    Date: 2020–05
  25. By: Pettit, Syril D (Health and Environmental Sciences Institute); Jerome, Keith; Rouquie, David; Hester, Susan; Wehmas, Leah; Mari, Bernard; Barbry, Pascal; Kanda, Yasunari; Matsumoto, Mineo; Botten, Jason
    Abstract: Current demand for SARS-CoV-2 testing is straining material resource and labor capacity around the globe. As a result, the public health and clinical community are hindered in their ability to monitor and contain the spread of COVID-19. Despite broad consensus that more testing is needed, pragmatic guidance towards realizing this objective has been limited. This paper addresses this limitation by proposing a novel and geographically agnostic framework (‘the 4Ps Framework) to guide multidisciplinary, scalable, resource-efficient, and achievable efforts towards enhanced testing capacity. The 4Ps (Prioritize, Propagate, Partition, and Provide) are described in terms of specific opportunities to enhance the volume, diversity, characterization, and implementation of SARS-CoV-2 testing to benefit public health. Coordinated deployment of the strategic and tactical recommendations described in this framework have the potential to rapidly expand available testing capacity, improve public health decision-making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and/or to be applied in future emergent disease outbreaks.
    Date: 2020–04–29
  26. By: Qiu, Yun (Jinan University); Chen, Xi (Yale University); Shi, Wei (Jinan University)
    Abstract: This paper models the local and cross-city transmissions of the novel coronavirus in China between January 19 and February 29 in 2020. We examine the role of various socioeconomic mediating factors, including public health measures that encourage social distancing in local communities. Weather characteristics two weeks ago are used as instrumental variables for causal inference. Stringent quarantine, city lockdown, and local public health measures imposed since late January significantly decreased the virus transmission rate. The virus spread was contained by the middle of February. Population outflow from the outbreak source region posed a higher risk to the destination regions than other factors including geographic proximity and similarity in economic conditions. We quantify the effects of different public health measures in reducing the number of infections through counterfactual analyses. Over 1.4 million infections and 56,000 deaths could have been avoided as a result of the national and provincial public health measures imposed in late January in China.
    Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus, transmission, quarantine, COVID-19
    JEL: I18 I12 C23
    Date: 2020–04

This nep-hea issue is ©2020 by Nicolas R. Ziebarth. 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.
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