nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2020‒07‒27
34 papers chosen by
Nicolas R. Ziebarth
Cornell University

  1. The Health Toll of Import Competition By Adda, Jérôme; Fawaz, Yarine
  2. Why Does Consumption Fluctuate in Old Age and How Should the Government Insure It? By Richard Blundell; Margherita Borella; Jeanne Commault; Mariacristina De Nardi
  3. Socioeconomic Decline and Death: Midlife Impacts of Graduating in a Recession By Schwandt, Hannes; von Wachter, Till
  4. Lifetime events and the well-being of older people. By Aassve, Arnstein; Luppi, Francesca; Pronzato, Chiara; Pudney, Steve
  5. Physician performance pay: Experimental evidence By Brosig-Koch, Jeannette; Hennig-Schmidt, Heike; Kairies-Schwarz, Nadja; Kokot, Johanna; Wiesen, Daniel
  6. Who benefits when inertia is reduced? Competition, quality and returns to skill in health care markets By Fleitas, Sebastian
  7. Quality provision in hospital markets with demand inertia:The role of patient expectations By Luís Sá; Odd Rune Straume
  8. Competition on Unobserved Attributes: The Case of the Hospital Industry By Choné, Philippe; Wilner, Lionel
  9. Genetic Risks, Adolescent Health, and Schooling Attainment By Amin, Vikesh; Behrman, Jere; Fletcher, Jason; Flores, Carlos A; Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso; Kohler, Hans Peter
  10. Geographic and Socioeconomic Heterogeneity in the Benefits of Reducing Air Pollution in the United States By Tatyana Deryugina; Nolan H. Miller; David Molitor; Julian Reif
  11. Causes of haze and its health effects in Singapore: a replication study By Jan F. Kiviet
  12. Role of Time Preferences in Explaining the Burden of Malnutrition: Evidence from Urban India By Archana Dang
  13. Dietary Models and Challenges for Economics By Marette, Stéphan; Réquillart, Vincent
  14. Sin Taxes and Self-Control By Renke Schmacker; Sinne Smed
  15. Maternal Mortality and Women's Political Participation By Bhalotra, Sonia; Clarke, Damian; Gomes, Joseph Flavian; Venkataramani, Atheendar
  16. The complementarity between cash transfers and financial literacy for child growth By Dieter von Fintel; Marisa von Fintel; Thabani Buthelezi
  17. Building Resilient Health Systems: Experimental Evidence from Sierra Leone and the 2014 Ebola Outbreak By Darin Christensen; Oeindrila Dube; Johannes Haushofer; Bilal Siddiqi; Maarten J. Voors
  18. Valuing mortality risk in the time of covid-19 By Hammitt, James K.
  19. Social Capital and the Spread of Covid-19: Insights from European Countries By Alina Kristin Bartscher; Sebastian Seitz; Sebastian Sieglich; Michaela Slotwinski; Nils Wehrhöfer; Sebastian Siegloch
  20. Closed-Form Solutions for Optimal Social Distancing in a SIR Model of COVID-19 Suppression By Reyer Gerlagh
  21. Chinese Aid and Health at the Country and Local Level By John Cruzatti C.; Axel Dreher; Johannes Matzat
  22. An Economic Model of the Covid-19 Epidemic: The Importance of Testing and Age-Specific Policies By Luiz Brotherhood; Philipp Kircher; Cezar Santos; Michèle Tertilt
  23. The Effectiveness of School Closures and Other Pre-Lockdown COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies in Argentina, Italy, and South Korea By Claudio Neidhöfer; Guido Neidhöfer
  24. Does Holding Elections during a Covid-19 Pandemic Put the Lives of Politicians at Risk? By Laurent Bach; Arthur Guillouzouic; Clément Malgouyres
  25. Socio-Demographic Factors Associated with Self-Protecting Behavior during the Covid-19 Pandemic By Nicholas W. Papageorge; Matthew V. Zahn; Michèle Belot; Eline van den Broek-Altenburg; Syngjoo Choi; Julian C. Jamison; Egon Tripodi
  26. The Effect of Fox News on Health Behavior During COVID-19 By Ash, Elliott; Galletta, Sergio; Hangartner, Dominik; Margalit, Yotam; Pinna, Matteo
  27. Socioeconomic Network Heterogeneity and Pandemic Policy Response By Mohammad Akbarpour; Cody Cook; Aude Marzuoli; Simon Mongey; Abhishek Nagaraj; Matteo Saccarola; Pietro Tebaldi; Shoshana Vasserman; Hanbin Yang
  28. Racial Disparity in COVID-19 Deaths: Seeking Economic Roots with Census data. By John McLaren
  29. Global Evidence on the Determinants of Public Trust in Governments during the COVID-19 By Giray Gozgor
  30. COVID-19, Workers, and Policy By Stuart Andreason
  31. COVerAGE-JP: COVID-19 Deaths by Age and Sex in Japan By Uchikoshi, Fumiya
  32. COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Early Look at US Data By Erik Brynjolfsson; John J. Horton; Adam Ozimek; Daniel Rock; Garima Sharma; Hong-Yi TuYe
  33. Gender Differences in COVID-19 Related Attitudes and Behavior: Evidence from a Panel Survey in Eight OECD Countries By Vincenzo Galasso; Vincent Pons; Paola Profeta; Michael Becher; Sylvain Brouard; Martial Foucault
  34. From Shattered Goals to Meaning in Life: Life Crafting in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic By de Jong, E.M.; Ziegler, N.; Schippers, M.C.

  1. By: Adda, Jérôme; Fawaz, Yarine
    Abstract: This paper assesses the effect of import competition on the labor market and health outcomes of US workers. We first show that import shocks affect employment and income, but only in areas where jobs are more intense in routine tasks. Exploiting over 40 million individual observations on health and mortality, we find that import had a detrimental effect on physical and mental health that is concentrated in those areas and exhibits strong persistence. It decreased health care utilisation and increased hospitalisation for a large set of conditions, more difficult to treat. The mortality hazard of workers in manufacturing increased by up to 6 percent per billion dollar import increase.
    Keywords: health; health behaviour; hospitalisation; import competition; Mortality; routine tasks
    Date: 2020–01
  2. By: Richard Blundell; Margherita Borella; Jeanne Commault; Mariacristina De Nardi
    Abstract: In old age, consumption can fluctuate because of shocks to available resources and because health shocks affect utility from consumption. We find that even temporary drops in income and health are associated with drops in consumption and most of the effect of temporary drops in health on consumption stems from the reduction in the marginal utility from consumption that they generate. More precisely, after a health shock, richer households adjust their consumption of luxury goods because their utility of consuming them changes. Poorer households, instead, adjust both their necessary and luxury consumption because of changing resources and utility from consumption.
    JEL: D1 D11 D12 D14 E2 E21 H2 H31 H51
    Date: 2020–06
  3. By: Schwandt, Hannes; von Wachter, Till
    Abstract: This paper uses several large cross-sectional data sources and a new approach to estimate midlife effects of entering the labor market in a recession on mortality by cause and various measures of socioeconomic status. We find that cohorts coming of age during the deep recession of the early 1980s suffer increases in mortality that appear in their late 30s and further strengthen through age 50. We show these mortality impacts are driven by disease-related causes such as heart disease, lung cancer, and liver disease, as well as drug overdoses. At the same time, unlucky middle-aged labor market entrants earn less and work more while receiving less welfare support. They are also less likely to be married, more likely to be divorced, and experience higher rates of childlessness. Our findings demonstrate that temporary disadvantages in the labor market during young adulthood can have substantial impacts on lifetime outcomes, can affect life and death in middle age, and go beyond the transitory initial career effects typically studied.
    JEL: E32 I10 J10
    Date: 2020–01
  4. By: Aassve, Arnstein; Luppi, Francesca; Pronzato, Chiara; Pudney, Steve (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the relationships between physical health, work, family history and mental well-being of people aged 50+ years and tests whether their children’s education, family formation and work circumstances also affect their level of depression. We use data for 10 European countries from six waves of the Survey of Health Ageing Retirement in Europe, from which we can observe current circumstances, past events and changes of conditions over time for older parents and their adult children. We find strong beneficial effects of being retired and detrimental effects of bad health conditions. A problematic family of origin, as well as grief over the death of spouses or children, persists over the entire life. Regarding non-coresident adult children, we observe that having children in better working and family conditions beneficially affects parental mental well-being. Geographical variability allows testing of whether the effects vary across different cultural contexts and institutions. Important context heterogeneities emerge: unemployment is more burdensome in countries with more difficult labour market conditions, sickness is less heavy in countries with better healthcare systems and divorce is less bearable in countries characterized by more traditional family values.
    Date: 2020–02
  5. By: Brosig-Koch, Jeannette (University of Duisburg-Essen and Health Economics Research Center); Hennig-Schmidt, Heike (University of Bonn, Department of Economics); Kairies-Schwarz, Nadja (University of Duisburg-Essen and CINCH Essen); Kokot, Johanna (University of Hamburg and Hamburg Center for Health Economics); Wiesen, Daniel (University of Cologne, Department of Health Care Management)
    Abstract: We analyze the causal effect of performance pay on physicians’ medical service provision and the quality of care. To address this effect, which is difficult to study in the field we conducted an online experiment with primary care physicians randomly drawn from a representative resident physician sample in Germany. Linking individual physicians’ behavioral data with administrative data enables us to identify how practice charac teristics account for the heterogeneity in individual physicians’ responses to performance incentives, which field data do not allow in general. We find that performance pay reduces underprovision of medical care compared to lump-sum capitation. The effect increases with patients’ severities of ill ness. Already small incentives are effective in enhancing the quality of care. Our results further indicate that physicians in high-profit practices and practicing in cities are most responsive to incentives.
    Keywords: pay for performance; behavioral experiment; practice charac teristics
    JEL: C93 I11
    Date: 2020–07–09
  6. By: Fleitas, Sebastian
    Abstract: Increased competition creates incentives for health-care providers to improve quality by incorporating better inputs, like higher-skill physicians. However, because the supply of high-skill physicians is relatively inelastic in the short run, increases in competition may lead only to increases in returns to skill. I leverage a reform in Uruguay that increased competition among completely vertically integrated providers by reducing lock-in of consumers. Using administrative data on wages and hours and a measure of physicians' skills based on test scores from medical school, I show that increased competition increased the returns to skill without strong evidence of an increase in quality.
    Keywords: Competition; inertia; Quality; Returns to skill
    JEL: I13 I18 J31 J44 L15
    Date: 2020–01
  7. By: Luís Sá (NIPE and University of Minho); Odd Rune Straume (NIPE and Department of Economics, University of Minho and Department of Economics, University of Bergen)
    Abstract: The presence of switching costs and persistent patient preferences generates demand inertia and links current and future choices of hospital. Using a model of hospital competition with demand inertia, we investigate the effect of patient expectations (whether and how patients anticipate the future) on quality provision. We consider three types of expectations. Myopic patients choose a hospital based on current variables alone, forward-looking but naïve patients take the future into account but assume that quality remains constant, and forward-looking and rational patients foresee the evolution of quality. We rank equilibrium quality provision and show that it is higher under naïve than myopic expectations, while equilibrium quality under rational expectations may be highest or lowest. This result also holds for patient welfare, suggesting that rationality does not always benefit patients. We also show that only under rational expectations may quality be lower than in a market without inertia and switching cost reductions beneficial.
    Keywords: Hospital competition; myopic behaviour; forward-looking behaviour; rational expectations; switching costs.
    JEL: I11 I18 L13 L51
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Choné, Philippe; Wilner, Lionel
    Abstract: To assess strategic interactions in industries where endogenous product characteristics are unobserved to the researcher, we propose an empirical method that brings a competition-in-utility-space framework to the data. We apply the method to the French hospital industry. The utilities offered to patients are inferred from local market shares under AKM exclusion restrictions. The hospitals' objective functions are identified thanks to the gradual introduction of stronger financial incentives over the period of study. Offering more utility to each patient entails incurring higher costs per patient, implying that utilities are mostly strategic complements. Counterfactual simulations show that stronger incentives affect market shares but have little impact on the total number of patient admissions. We quantify the resulting gains for patients and losses for hospitals.
    Keywords: Competition in utility space; Financial incentives; hospital choice; payment reform
    JEL: D22 I11 L13
    Date: 2020–01
  9. By: Amin, Vikesh; Behrman, Jere; Fletcher, Jason; Flores, Carlos A; Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso; Kohler, Hans Peter
    Abstract: We provide new evidence on the effect of adolescent health on schooling attainment using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. We take two different approaches to deal with omitted variable bias and reverse causality. Our first approach attends to the issue of reverse causality by using health polygenic scores (PGSs) as proxies for actual adolescent health. Second, we estimate the effect of adolescent health using sibling fixed-effects models that control for unmeasured genetic and family factors shared by siblings. We find that being genetically predisposed to smoking and smoking regularly in adolescence reduces schooling attainment.
    Date: 2020–07–01
  10. By: Tatyana Deryugina; Nolan H. Miller; David Molitor; Julian Reif
    Abstract: Policies aimed at reducing the harmful effects of air pollution exposure typically focus on areas with high levels of pollution. However, if a population’s vulnerability to air pollution is imperfectly correlated with current pollution levels, then this approach to air quality regulation may not efficiently target pollution reduction efforts. We examine the geographic and socioeconomic determinants of vulnerability to dying from acute exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution. We find that there is substantial local and regional variability in the share of individuals who are vulnerable to pollution both at the county and ZIP code level. Vulnerability tends to be negatively related to health and socioeconomic status. Surprisingly, we find that vulnerability is also negatively related to an area’s average PM2.5 pollution level, suggesting that basing air quality regulation only on current pollution levels may fail to effectively target regions with the most to gain by reducing exposure.
    JEL: I14 Q53 Q56
    Date: 2020–06
  11. By: Jan F. Kiviet (University of Amsterdam and Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Intermittently Singapore suffers from severe air pollution in periods of intense forest and peatland fires on neighboring South-Asian islands. A recent American Economic Review article modeled the causal relationships between fire intensity in Indonesia and air pollution (PSI) in Singapore, and between PSI and health clinic visits in Singapore. We find serious flaws in the quantitative assessment of these relationships. Attempts are made to repair these using the same classic methodology and data, but also by alternative methods requiring less speculative assumptions. Although actually more detailed data are required, also some results are produced which seem more credible.
    Keywords: endogeneity robust inference, environmental economics, health economics, instrument invalidity, sensitivity analysis
    JEL: C12 C13 C26 I1 Q53
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Archana Dang (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics)
    Abstract: This study uses a simple theory model to examine how time preferences influence food choices made by individuals, which in turn have implications for their future health. The theory results demonstrate that individuals with higher bias for the present or lower patience will have poorer health outcomes: that is, they will either be underweight (low BMI) or overweight (high BMI). The pathway from time preferences to BMI is through food. To empirically validate these predictions, we use both the nationallyrepresentative India Human Development Survey (IHDS) to estimate a reduced form equation relating savings (a proxy for time preferences) to BMI; and a primary survey of 885 adults conducted in West Delhi. Using quantile regression and SEM estimation, we provide empirical validation for the theory results; namely that time preferences have significant effect on food choices which in turn has a significant impact on BMI. Thus, such psychometric measures are useful in identifying early on those at potential risk of being overweight or obese later as adults.
    JEL: I12 I15 I18 D91 C93
    Date: 2020–06
  13. By: Marette, Stéphan; Réquillart, Vincent
    Abstract: This introductory article presents the three main challenges faced in economics to issues raised by dietary models. The first part of this paper examines the dietary models that maximise the health profile of a population under various constraints, including environmental and agronomic criteria. The second part introduces the possibilities of economic modelling to complement these dietary models, despite the limitations of economic approaches. The third part suggests new research proposals by asserting that overlooked questions deserve further scrutiny. We emphasise that economic models are particularly useful to analyse trade-offs between the various objectives underlying a sustainable food system. However, possible improvements should tackle: first, possible substitutions between foods categories by consumers; second, adjustments in supply chains; and third, measures of inequality resulting from significant changes towards sustainability. Such improvements may be difficult to realize but are technically possible.
    Date: 2020–06
  14. By: Renke Schmacker; Sinne Smed
    Abstract: “Sin taxes” are high on the political agenda in the global fight against obesity. Ac- cording to theory, they are welfare improving if consumers with low self-control are at least as price responsive as consumers with high self-control, even in the absence of ex- ternalities. In this paper, we investigate if consumers with low and high self-control react differently to sin tax variation. For identification, we exploit two sets of sin tax reforms in Denmark: first, the increase of the soft drink tax in 2012 and its repeal in 2014 and, second, the fat tax introduction in 2011 and its repeal in 2013. We assess the purchase response empirically using a detailed homescan household panel. Our unique dataset com- prises a survey measure of self-control linked to the panelists, which we use to divide the sample into consumers with low and high levels of self-control. We find that consumers with low self-control reduce purchases less strongly than consumers with high self-control when taxes go up, but increase purchases to a similar extent when taxes go down. Hence, we document an asymmetry in the responsiveness to increasing and decreasing prices. We find empirical and theoretical support that habit formation shapes the differential response by self-control. The results suggest that price instruments are not an effective tool for targeting self-control problems.
    Keywords: self-control, soft drink tax, fat tax, sin tax, internality
    JEL: H20 D12 I18
    Date: 2020
  15. By: Bhalotra, Sonia; Clarke, Damian; Gomes, Joseph Flavian; Venkataramani, Atheendar
    Abstract: We show that large declines in maternal mortality can be achieved by raising women's political participation. We estimate that the recent wave of quotas for women in parliament in low income countries has resulted in a 9 to 12% decline in maternal mortality. Among mechanisms are that gender quotas lead to an 8 to 10% increase in skilled birth attendance, a 6 to 12% increase in prenatal care utilization and a 4 to 11% decrease in birth rates.
    Keywords: Gender; Maternal mortality; Quotas; reproductive health services; women's political representation
    JEL: I14 I15 O15
    Date: 2020–01
  16. By: Dieter von Fintel (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Research Affiliate: Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn); Marisa von Fintel (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.); Thabani Buthelezi (Department of Social Development, Government of South Africa)
    Abstract: A large body of international research focuses on the corrective influence that cash transfers can have on the health of chronically malnourished children. However, the evidence also points to the heterogeneity of the impact of these cash grants within the recipient population. Identifying pre-existing household conditions that are correlated with grant efficacy can have important policy consequences. In this paper, we examine one such a condition, namely the financial literacy of the caregiver of the child. We make use of the fourth and fifth waves of the South African National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) data. We estimate the relationship between height and growth in a sample of children aged 0 to 7 years and the child support grant. We find that eligible children who have financially literate caregivers receiving the cash transfer on their behalf have higher growth trajectories over time, compared to children with financially illiterate caregivers. We however find no such effect for child height. Our results do not preclude a pure income effect for cash transfers: children who become CSG beneficiaries gain in height immediately, even without financially literate caregivers. Arguably, the combination of cash transfers and financial literacy have long-run benefits for children over and above an income effect. Although we are unable to identify the specific mechanisms through which financial literacy may impact child growth, we discuss some potential channels. The results have important policy implications regarding potential ways in which to improve the efficacy of the child support grant in South Africa.
    Date: 2019
  17. By: Darin Christensen; Oeindrila Dube; Johannes Haushofer; Bilal Siddiqi; Maarten J. Voors
    Abstract: Underuse of health systems and a lack of confidence in their quality contribute to high rates of mortality in the developing world. How individuals perceive health systems may be especially critical during epidemics, when they choose whether to cooperate with response efforts and frontline health workers. Can improving the perceived quality of healthcare promote community health and ultimately, help to contain epidemics? We leverage a field experiment to answer this question in the context of Sierra Leone and the 2014 West Africa Ebola crisis. Two years before the outbreak, we randomly assigned two accountability interventions to government-run health clinics – one focused on community monitoring and the other conferred non-financial awards to clinic staff. These interventions delivered immediate benefits under "normal" conditions. Even prior to the Ebola crisis, both interventions increased clinic utilization and satisfaction with healthcare, and community monitoring additionally improved child health, leading to 38 percent fewer deaths of children under five. Later, during the crisis, the interventions also increased reporting of Ebola cases by 62 percent, and significantly reduced Ebola-related deaths. Evidence on mechanisms suggests that the interventions improved confidence in the health system, encouraging patients to report Ebola symptoms and receive medical care. These results indicate that promoting accountability not only has the power to improve health systems during normal times, but can also make them more resilient to crises that emerge over the longer run.
    JEL: I18 J33 M52 O15
    Date: 2020–06
  18. By: Hammitt, James K.
    Abstract: In evaluating the appropriate response to the covid-19 pandemic, a key parameter is the rate of substitution between mortality risk and wealth or income, conventionally summarized as the value per statistical life (VSL). For the United States, VSL is estimated as approximately $10 million, which implies the value of preventing 100,000 covid-19 deaths is $1 trillion. Is this value too large? There are reasons to think so. First, VSL is a marginal rate of substitution and the potential risk reductions are non-marginal. The standard VSL model implies the rate of substitution of wealth for risk reduction is smaller when the risk reduction is larger, but the implied value of non-marginal risk reductions decreases slowly until the value accounts for a substantial share of income, after which it decreases sharply; average individuals are predicted to be willing to spend more than half their income to reduce one-year mortality risk by only 1 in 100. Second, mortality risk is concentrated among the elderly, for whom VSL may be smaller and who would benefit from a persistent risk reduction for a shorter period because of their shorter life expectancy. Third, the pandemic and responses to it have caused substantial losses in income that should decrease VSL. In contrast, VSL is plausibly larger for risks (like covid-19) that are dreaded, uncertain, catastrophic, and ambiguous. These arguments are evaluated and key issues for improving estimates are highlighted.
    Keywords: value per statistical life; pandemic; age-dependence; ambiguity aversion; risk perception
    Date: 2020–06
  19. By: Alina Kristin Bartscher; Sebastian Seitz; Sebastian Sieglich; Michaela Slotwinski; Nils Wehrhöfer; Sebastian Siegloch
    Abstract: We explore the role of social capital in the spread of the recent Covid-19 pandemic in independent analyses for Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Exploiting within-country variation, we show that a one standard deviation increase in social capital leads to 12% and 32% fewer Covid-19 cases per capita accumulated from mid-March until mid-May. Using Italy as a case study, we find that high-social-capital areas exhibit lower excess mortality and a decline in mobility. Our results have important implications for the design of local containment policies in future waves of the pandemic.
    Keywords: Covid-19, social capital, collective action, health costs, Europe
    JEL: D04 A13 D91 H11 H12 I10 I18
    Date: 2020
  20. By: Reyer Gerlagh
    Abstract: I present a stylized suspected-infected-recovered (SIR) model of COVID-19, with symptomatic versus asymptomatic patients, and social distancing intervention. The optimal suppress strategy has low-infection rates, enabling assumptions that support closed-form solutions. The model predicts high costs of social distancing in comparison to health costs of the disease; it separates public versus private benefits of social distancing, and determines the required level of group immunity for relaxing social distance intervention. I extend the model with heterogeneous population for preferences over social contacts, health costs, and transmission. Heterogeneity in transmission intensity offers most opportunities for reduced costs under a differentiated social distancing policy.
    Keywords: COVID-19, SIR model, suppression, (differentiated) social distancing
    JEL: I18 E17 D62
    Date: 2020
  21. By: John Cruzatti C.; Axel Dreher; Johannes Matzat
    Abstract: We investigate whether and to what extent Chinese development finance affects infant mortality, combining 92 demographic and health surveys (DHS) for a maximum of 53 countries and almost 55,000 sub-national locations over the 2002-2014 period. We address causality by instrumenting aid with a set of interacted variables. Variation over time results from indicators that measure the availability of funding in a given year. Cross-sectional variation results from a sub-national region’s “probability to receive aid.” Controlled for this probability in tandem with fixed effects for country-years and provinces, the interactions of these variables form powerful and excludable instruments. Our results show that Chinese aid increases infant mortality at sub-national scales, but decreases mortality at the country-level. In several tests, we show that this stark contrast likely results from aid being fungible within recipient countries.
    Keywords: health aid, fungibility, infant mortality
    JEL: I15 F35
    Date: 2020
  22. By: Luiz Brotherhood; Philipp Kircher; Cezar Santos; Michèle Tertilt
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of testing and age-composition in the Covid-19 epidemic. We augment a standard SIR epidemiological model with individual choices regarding how much time to spend working and consuming outside the house, both of which increase the risk of transmission. Individuals who have flu symptoms are unsure whether they caught Covid-19 or simply a common cold. Testing reduces the time of uncertainty. Individuals are heterogeneous with respect to age. Younger people are less likely to die, exacerbating their willingness to take risks and to impose externalities on the old. We explore heterogeneous policy responses in terms of testing, confinements, and selective mixing by age group.
    Keywords: Covid-19, testing, social distancing, age-specific policies
    JEL: E17 C63 D62 I10 I18
    Date: 2020
  23. By: Claudio Neidhöfer (Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, University Hospital Bonn); Guido Neidhöfer (CEDLAS-IIE-FCE-UNLP & ZEW Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim)
    Abstract: The rapid spread of COVID-19 forced policy-makers to swiftly find solutions to reduce infection rates and keep mortality as low as possible. Empirical analyses on the effectiveness of control measures are hereby of primary importance. School closures were among the earliest measures enacted by the governments of most countries. However, while schools are now reopening in many countries, the impact of school closures on the course of the epidemic is still an open question. Adopting parametric and non-parametric synthetic control methods we estimate the effectiveness of pro-active school closures, and other early social distancing interventions, in three countries that reacted relatively early during the course of the pandemic. Our findings suggest that these interventions were effective at reducing the mortality rate of COVID-19, especially when enacted early.
    JEL: I18 J18
    Date: 2020–08
  24. By: Laurent Bach (ESSEC Business School - Essec Business School, IPP - Institut des politiques publiques); Arthur Guillouzouic (IPP - Institut des politiques publiques, PSE - Paris School of Economics, Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Paris); Clément Malgouyres (IPP - Institut des politiques publiques, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of French town hall elections held in mid-March 2020 on the mortality of 170,000 male candidates aged above 60. Their excess mortality during March and April was similar to the general population. We compare candidates in cities with two candidate lists to those in cities with only one list, as elections are more intense in contacts in the former group. We also use a regression discontinuity design and investigate mortality in 2020 depending on how candidates fared in the 2014 election. We cannot detect any causal effect of active participation in the 2020 elections on mortality.
    Keywords: Covid-19 pandemic,French elections,individual-level data,regression discontinuity design
    Date: 2020–07
  25. By: Nicholas W. Papageorge; Matthew V. Zahn; Michèle Belot; Eline van den Broek-Altenburg; Syngjoo Choi; Julian C. Jamison; Egon Tripodi
    Abstract: Disease spread is in part a function of individual behavior. We examine the factors predicting individual behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States using novel data collected by Belot et al. (2020). Among other factors, we show that people with lower income, less flexible work arrangements (e.g., an inability to tele-work) and lack of outside space at home are less likely to engage in behaviors, such as social distancing, that limit the spread of disease. We also find evidence that region, gender and beliefs predict behavior. Broadly, our findings align with typical relationships between health and socio-economic status. Moreover, they suggest that the burden of measures designed to stem the pandemic are unevenly distributed across socio-demographic groups in ways that affect behavior and thus potentially the spread of illness. Policies that assume otherwise are unlikely to be effective or sustainable.
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2020–06
  26. By: Ash, Elliott; Galletta, Sergio; Hangartner, Dominik; Margalit, Yotam; Pinna, Matteo
    Abstract: In the early weeks of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Fox News Channel advanced a skeptical narrative that downplayed the risks posed by the virus. We find that this narrative had significant consequences: in localities with higher Fox News viewership---exogenous due to random variation in channel positioning---people were less likely to adopt behaviors geared toward social distancing (e.g., staying at home) and consumed less goods in preparation (e.g., cleaning products, hand sanitizers, masks). Using original survey data, we find that the effect of Fox News came not merely from its long-standing distrustful stance toward science, but also due to program-specific content that minimized the COVID-19 threat.
    Date: 2020–06–27
  27. By: Mohammad Akbarpour; Cody Cook; Aude Marzuoli; Simon Mongey; Abhishek Nagaraj; Matteo Saccarola; Pietro Tebaldi; Shoshana Vasserman; Hanbin Yang
    Abstract: We develop a heterogeneous-agents network-based model to analyze alternative policies during a pandemic outbreak, accounting for health and economic trade-offs within the same empirical framework. We leverage a variety of data sources, including data on individuals' mobility and encounters across metropolitan areas, health records, and measures of the possibility to be productively working from home. This combination of data sources allows us to build a framework in which the severity of a disease outbreak varies across locations and industries, and across individuals who differ by age, occupation, and preexisting health conditions. We use this framework to analyze the impact of different social distancing policies in the context of the COVID-19 outbreaks across US metropolitan areas. Our results highlight how outcomes vary across areas in relation to the underlying heterogeneity in population density, social network structures, population health, and employment characteristics. We find that policies by which individuals who can work from home continue to do so, or in which schools and firms alternate schedules across different groups of students and employees, can be effective in limiting the health and healthcare costs of the pandemic outbreak while also reducing employment losses.
    JEL: H12 H75 I18
    Date: 2020–06
  28. By: John McLaren
    Abstract: This note seeks the socioeconomic roots of racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality, using county-level mortality, economic, and demographic data from 3,140 counties. For all minorities, the minority's population share is strongly correlated with total COVID-19 deaths. For Hispanic/Latino and Asian minorities those correlations are fragile, and largely disappear when we control for education, occupation, and commuting patterns. For African Americans and First Nations populations, the correlations are very robust. Surprisingly, for these two groups the racial disparity does not seem to be due to differences in income, poverty rates, education, occupational mix, or even access to healthcare insurance. A significant portion of the disparity can, however, be sourced to the use of public transit.
    JEL: I14 J15
    Date: 2020–06
  29. By: Giray Gozgor
    Abstract: Using the Worldwide COVID-19 Attitudes and Beliefs dataset covering 108,918 respondents from 178 countries, the paper examines the determinants of public trust in governments during the COVID-19. It is found that older and healthy people trust more to their governments. Education is negatively related to trust in governments. The results are robust to consider different measures of trust in government as well as including various controls, such as precautionary behaviors, first-order beliefs, second-order beliefs, and the COVID-19 prevalence in the country. The findings are also valid for countries at different stages of economic development as well to varying levels of globalization, institutional quality, and freedom of the press.
    Keywords: the COVID-19 pandemic, trust in governments, global survey data, economic development, institutional quality, freedom of the press
    JEL: I18 D81 C31 C83
    Date: 2020
  30. By: Stuart Andreason
    Abstract: As coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) spreads around the world and across the United States, many policymakers and public health officials are encouraging employers to tell workers to work remotely or to stay home when they or their family members are sick. There are significant questions, though, about how many people can work from home. Many U.S. workers in retail, restaurants, manufacturing, and other occupations cannot do so. This Workforce Currents post will explore who can work from home and identify practices and policies to support workers who cannot work from home in the event of a pandemic like COVID-19. It will end with a policy focus on the potential of short-time compensation as a response to workers who have to self-quarantine.
    Keywords: COVID-19; workers; coronavirus
    JEL: J81 J83
    Date: 2020–03–18
  31. By: Uchikoshi, Fumiya
    Abstract: This database collects COVID-19 deaths by age, sex, date, and region in Japan. As with other causes of deaths, deaths related to COVID-19 are reported by local public health center (Hokenjo), which is located in every prefecture and major metropolitan/large cities. 47 prefectures and some metropolitan cities then collect the information about COVID-19 cases and deaths to report the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW). Although MHLW provides a summary statistics about the COVID-19 cases and deaths on their webpage, the distribution broken down by age and sex is not available, that leads many volunteering organizations to collect COVID-19 information based on prefectural/municipality reports. However, even these databases do not provide COVID-19 deaths by age and sex. This database thus aims to fill in the gap by collecting COVID-19 related deaths reported by various sources as I discuss below, including prefectures’ press releases or media sources. This document explains the collection of data sources and potential uses of the data.
    Date: 2020–06–27
  32. By: Erik Brynjolfsson; John J. Horton; Adam Ozimek; Daniel Rock; Garima Sharma; Hong-Yi TuYe
    Abstract: We report the results of a nationally-representative sample of the US population during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey ran in two waves from April 1-5, 2020 and May 2-8, 2020. Of those employed pre-COVID-19, we find that about half are now working from home, including 35.2% who report they were commuting and recently switched to working from home. In addition, 10.1% report being laid-off or furloughed since the start of COVID-19. There is a strong negative relationship between the fraction in a state still commuting to work and the fraction working from home. We find that the share of people switching to remote work can be predicted by the incidence of COVID-19 and that younger people were more likely to switch to remote work. Furthermore, states with a higher share of employment in information work including management, professional and related occupations were more likely to shift toward working from home and had fewer people laid off or furloughed. We find no substantial change in results between the two waves, suggesting that most changes to remote work manifested by early April.
    JEL: I15 J21 L23 M15 M5
    Date: 2020–06
  33. By: Vincenzo Galasso; Vincent Pons; Paola Profeta; Michael Becher; Sylvain Brouard; Martial Foucault
    Abstract: Using original data from two waves of a survey conducted in March and April 2020 in eight OECD countries (N = 21,649), we show that women are more likely to see COVID-19 as a very serious health problem, to agree with restraining public policy measures adopted in response to it, and to comply with them. Gender differences in attitudes and behavior are substantial in all countries, robust to controlling for a large set of sociodemographic, employment, psychological, and behavioral factors, and only partially mitigated for individuals who cohabit or have direct exposure to COVID-19. The results are not driven by differential social desirability bias. They carry important implications for the spread of the pandemic and may contribute to explain gender differences in vulnerability to it.
    JEL: D70 D83 I12 I18
    Date: 2020–06
  34. By: de Jong, E.M.; Ziegler, N.; Schippers, M.C.
    Abstract: The novel COVID-19 pandemic has created an extraordinary situation for our generation, with many countries being on lockdown. With this new situation comes many psychological challenges, not only for health care workers and people suffering from COVID-19, but also for the general population. Adapting to the new situation can be demanding. Experts have suggested that emotions during this situation are very similar to grief, and people experience emptiness and sadness about the loss of their normal lives, which can even lead to a loss of meaning in life. In this paper, we argue that life crafting could offer a way to help people cope with the situation and renew their sense of meaning. A life crafting intervention is based on theoretical insights from multiple areas of research, like positive psychology, expressive writing, and the salutogenesis framework. Life-crafting interventions help people find meaning in life by focusing on their ideal future, and helping them set goals, make concrete plans to achieve those goals and overcome obstacles. Since having a clear purpose or meaning in life has been shown to have many benefits, we propose that it can also help people to cope with the psychological effects of the pandemic. A life-crafting intervention can offer people a chance to evaluate their goals in a time of uncertainty and rediscover meaning in life to guide them through these difficult times.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, life crafting, grief, collective trauma, meaning in life, purpose in life, goal setting
    Date: 2020–07–21

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