nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2023‒10‒23
twenty-two papers chosen by
Nicolas R. Ziebarth, Cornell University

  1. Wildfires and Human Health: Evidence from 15 Wildfire Seasons in Chile By Arrizaga, Rubí; Clarke, Damian; Cubillos, Pedro P.; Ruiz-Tagle V., Cristóbal
  2. Provider Payment Incentives: Evidence From The U.S. Hospice Industry By Norma Coe; David A. Rosenkranz
  3. How Do Health Insurance Costs Affect Firm Labor Composition and Technology Investment? By Janet Gao; Shan Ge; Lawrence D. W. Schmidt; Cristina Tello-Trillo
  4. Waiting for Dr. Godot: how much and who responds to predicted health care wait times? By Stephenson Strobel
  5. The Labor Market Consequences of Heat Exposure During Pregnancy By Xuwen Gao; Ran Song; Christopher Timmins; Fang Xia
  6. The Evolution of Work from Home By Jose Maria Barrero; Nicholas Bloom; Steven J. Davis
  7. Health externalities to productivity and efficient health subsidies By Siew Ling Yew; Jie Zhang
  8. Increasing the Use of Telemedicine: A Field Experiment By González, María P.; Scartascini, Carlos
  9. Forecasting drug overdose mortality by age in the United States at the national and county levels By Bottcher, Lucas; Chou, Tom; D'Orsogna, Maria Rita
  10. Socioemotional Learning in Early Childhood Education: Experimental Evidence from the Think Equal Program’s Implementation in Colombia By Mateo-Berganza Díaz, María Mercedes; Näslund-Hadley, Emma; Cabra, Margarita; Vélez Medina, Laura Felizia
  11. Optimal Epidemic Control By Martín Gonzales-Eiras, Dirk Niepelt
  12. The Impact of Hospital Closures on Medical Debt in Collections: Analysis Using Consumer Credit Bureau Data By Andre, Jennifer; Blavin, Fredric; Braga, Breno; Gangopadhyaya, Anuj
  13. Historical View of Diabetics Mellitus: From Ancient Egyptian Polyuria to Discovery of Insulin By Mohajan, Devajit
  14. A Temporal Analysis of Prevalence, Pattern and Perception of Substance Abuse among Higher Secondary and Higher Education Students in Ernakulam District, Kerala By K M, Dr.Siby; K J, Teena Rose
  15. Re-thinking Social Protection: From Poverty Alleviation to Building Resilience in Middle-Income Households By Vera-Cossio, Diego A.; Hoffmann, Bridget; Pecha, Camilo; Gallego, Jorge; Stampini, Marco; Vargas, David; Medina, María Paula; Álvarez, Esteban
  16. The Birth Order Effect: A Modern Phenomenon? By Nuevo-Chiquero, Ana; Vidal-Fernandez, Marian; Lehmann, Jee-Yeon K.
  17. Trusting Covid-19 recommendations: The role of experts, markets and governments By Albornoz, Facundo; Cruces, Guillermo; Lombardi, María
  18. Do Behavioral Drivers Matter for Healthcare Decision-making in Times of Crisis?: A study of Low-Income Women in El Salvador During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Bernal, Pedro; Daga, Giuliana; Kossuth, Lajos; Lopez Boo, Florencia
  19. Associations between anxiety and the willingness to be exposed to COVID-19 risk among French young adults during the first pandemic wave By Fabrice Etilé; Pierre-Yves Geoffard
  20. Historical Narratives About the COVID-19 Pandemic are Motivationally Biased By Philipp Sprengholz; Luca Henkel; Robert Böhm; Cornelia Betsch
  21. Structural Econometric Estimation of the Basic Reproduction Number for Covid-19 across U.S. States and Selected Countries By Ida Johnsson; M. Hashem Pesaran; Cynthia Fan Yang
  22. COVID-19 and economic preferences: evidence from a panel of cab drivers By Fernando M. Aragon, Noelia Bernal, Mariano Bosch and Oswaldo Molina

  1. By: Arrizaga, Rubí; Clarke, Damian; Cubillos, Pedro P.; Ruiz-Tagle V., Cristóbal
    Abstract: Wildfires are increasing in frequency and intensity. We study the impact of exposure to wildfires on air pollutants and on human health in Chile, finding substantial impacts on both classes of outcomes. We use data on 15 wildfire seasons (2004-2018) matched with granular (intra-day) records of wind direction and air quality, as well as administrative records of all hospitalizations in the country. By combining the precise location of fires with wind direction at the moment in which fires occur, we estimate causal impacts of exposure to wildfires. We find considerable impacts. Exposure to a large wildfire (250 Ha) is observed to increase PM2:5 concentrations by 10% on average in municipalities up to 200km from the epicenter of the wildfire. These effects have appreciable impacts on rates of hospitalization. A one standard deviation increase in exposure to large wildfires is estimated to increase rates of respiratory hospitalizations by 0.75%, while the effect of exposure to the most extreme week of wildfires observed is estimated to increase hospitalizations by as much as a third. Effects are found to be particularly acute for infants, and to grow with the size of the exposure to wildfire (both in terms of duration and area burned).
    Keywords: natural disasters;Wildfires;Air pollution;human capital;Heal
    JEL: Q54 I18 R11
    Date: 2023–07
  2. By: Norma Coe; David A. Rosenkranz
    Abstract: Moral hazard and provider-induced demand may contribute to overutilization of scarce health care resources. The U.S. health care system includes several compensatory cost-containment mechanisms, but their effects depend on how patients and providers respond. We investigate hospice programs’ responses to a cap in the Medicare hospice benefit on their average annual payments per patient. We estimate their intensive margin responses to the cap by leveraging variation in cap-related financial incentives generated by the policy’s nonlinear design and the transition between fiscal years. We find that programs on track to exceed the cap in the last three months of a fiscal year raise their enrollment rates by 5.7% and their live discharge rates by 4.3% on average, reducing their cap liabilities. The marginal enrollees have longer average remaining lifetimes and are less likely to have been recently hospitalized. Their hospice spells are also more likely to be fragmented by subsequent live discharges. On the extensive margin, we find that cap liabilities are associated with terminations of Medicare provider certification numbers, suggesting that the cap impacts market structure. Current policy discussions about reducing the cap should consider its potential effect on market structure.
    JEL: I0 I1 I11 I18
    Date: 2023–09
  3. By: Janet Gao; Shan Ge; Lawrence D. W. Schmidt; Cristina Tello-Trillo
    Abstract: Employer-sponsored health insurance is a significant component of labor costs. We examine the causal effect of health insurance premiums on firms’ employment, both in terms of quantity and composition, and their technology investment decisions. To address endogeneity concerns, we instrument for insurance premiums using idiosyncratic variation in insurers’ recent losses, which is plausibly exogenous to their customers who are employers. Using Census microdata, we show that following an increase in premiums, firms reduce employment. Relative to higher-income coworkers, lower-income workers see a larger increase in their likelihood of being separated from their jobs and becoming unemployed. Firms also invest more in information technology, potentially to substitute labor.
    Keywords: Health insurance, insurer losses, worker skills, firm employment, labor composition, inequality, technology investment, automation
    JEL: G22 G31 G28 G18 J01 J08 J32 J22 J23
    Date: 2023–09
  4. By: Stephenson Strobel
    Abstract: Asymmetric information in healthcare implies that patients could have difficulty trading off non-health and health related information. I document effects on patient demand when predicted wait time is disclosed to patients in an emergency department (ED) system. I use a regression discontinuity where EDs with similar predicted wait times display different online wait times to patients. I use impulse response functions estimated by local projections to demonstrate effects of the higher wait time. I find that an additional thirty minutes of wait time results in 15% fewer waiting patients at urgent cares and 2% fewer waiting patients at EDs within 3 hours of display. I find that the type of patient that stops using emergency care is triaged as having lower acuity and would have used an urgent care. However, I find that at very high wait times there are declines in all acuity patients including sick patients.
    Date: 2023–09
  5. By: Xuwen Gao; Ran Song; Christopher Timmins; Fang Xia
    Abstract: We provide the first estimates of the negative impact of exposure to extremely high temperatures during pregnancy on mothers’ labor market outcomes. We employ individual-level survey data from China and leverage plausibly exogenous fluctuations in heat exposure within cities. The results demonstrate that exposure to extremely hot weather during pregnancy reduces women’s wages and labor supply later in life and increases the likelihood that they will work in an unskilled sector. The effects are stronger for heat exposure during the third gestational trimester. The mechanism for these results is that extreme temperature exposure during pregnancy undermines maternal health. Our analysis proposes a new channel through which extreme weather generates health and economic costs.
    JEL: I10 J22 J31 Q54
    Date: 2023–09
  6. By: Jose Maria Barrero; Nicholas Bloom; Steven J. Davis
    Abstract: Full days worked at home account for 28 percent of paid workdays among Americans 20-64 years old, as of mid 2023, according to the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes. That’s about four times the 2019 rate and ten times the rate in the mid-1990s that we estimate in time-use data. We first explain why the big shift to work from home has endured rather than reverting to pre-pandemic levels. We then consider how work-from-home rates vary by worker age, sex, education, parental status, industry and local population density, and why it is higher in the United States than other countries. We also discuss some implications of the big shift for pay, productivity, and the pace of innovation. Over the next five years, U.S. business executives anticipate modest increases in the share of fully remote jobs at their own companies and in the share of jobs with hybrid arrangements, whereby the employee splits the workweek between home and employer premises. Other factors that portend an enduring shift to work from home include the ongoing adaptation of managerial practices and further advances in technologies, products, and tools that support remote work.
    JEL: D13 D23 E24 J22 J31 M54 R3
    Date: 2023–09
  7. By: Siew Ling Yew (Department of Economics, Monash University); Jie Zhang (School of Economics and Business Administration, Chongqing University and Department of Economics, National University of Singapore)
    Abstract: We explore optimal health subsidies in a dynastic model with health externalities to productivity that cause low health spending, productivity, longevity, savings and labor but high fertility. Public or firms’ health subsidies increase health spending, longevity and productivity and decrease fertility. Labor income taxes reduce the marginal benefit of health spending and the time cost of raising a child, while consumption taxes reduce the relative cost of raising a child. Appropriate public or firms’ health subsidies can internalize the externalities through age-specific labor income taxes and consumption taxes. Calibrating the model to the Australia economy, numerical results suggest policy improvements.
    Keywords: Health externality, Longevity, Productivity, Fertility, Savings
    JEL: H21 I13 I15
    Date: 2023–10
  8. By: González, María P.; Scartascini, Carlos
    Abstract: Patients are reluctant to use telemedicine health services. Telemedicine is an “experience good, ” one that can be accurately evaluated and compared to its substitute (in this case, in-person visits) only after the product has been adopted and experienced. As such, an intervention that increases the probability of a first experience can have lasting effects. This article reports the results of a randomized field experiment conducted in collaboration with a health insurance company in Argentina. During the intervention, about two thousand households with no previous experience with telemedicine received periodic e-mails with information about the available services. It effectively increased the take-up and demand for telemedicine. Within the first eight months of the experiment, patients assigned to the treatment group were 6pp more likely to have used the service at least once (12pp higher for those who opened at least one e-mail.) This first use led to large cumulative effects over time. After eight months, the number of virtual consultations by the treatment group was six times larger than those of the control group. These results provide additional evidence about how information interventions can increase technological take-up within the health sector and add to the understanding of how behavioral barriers affect patients resistance to technological adoption.
    Keywords: behavioral biases;Field experiment;Telemedicine;health
    JEL: I11 I13 D83 C93
    Date: 2023–05
  9. By: Bottcher, Lucas; Chou, Tom; D'Orsogna, Maria Rita
    Abstract: The drug overdose crisis in the United States continues to intensify. Fatalities have increased five-fold since 1999 reaching a record high of 108, 000 deaths in 2021. The epidemic has unfolded through distinct waves of different drug types, uniquely impacting various age, gender, race and ethnic groups in specific geographical areas. One major challenge in designing effective interventions is the forecasting of age-specific overdose patterns at the local level so that prevention and preparedness can be effectively delivered. We develop a forecasting method that assimilates observational data obtained from the CDC WONDER database with an age-structured model of addiction and overdose mortality. We apply our method nationwide and to three select areas: Los Angeles County, Cook County and the five boroughs of New York City, providing forecasts of drug-overdose mortality and estimates of relevant epidemiological quantities, such as mortality and age-specific addiction rates.
    Date: 2023–09–28
  10. By: Mateo-Berganza Díaz, María Mercedes; Näslund-Hadley, Emma; Cabra, Margarita; Vélez Medina, Laura Felizia
    Abstract: In this article we experimentally evaluate Colombia’s Think Equal program, which teaches socioemotional skills to children ages 3 to 6. Given the context of COVID-19, the original design was adapted as a hybrid model, alternating in-person and remote instruction and engaging families in the implementation of the curriculum. We found that the program had positive effects on children’s prosocial behavior, self-awareness, and cognitive learning. The intervention also had an impact on education centers personnel (community mothers) and caregivers implementing the activities. Treated community mothers had higher levels of empathy, lower negative health symptoms, better pedagogical practices, and a closer relationship with the children’s caregivers compared with those in the control group. Treated caregivers had better stimulation practices and lower negative health symptoms compared with those in the control group. These findings suggest that a well-designed intervention has the potential to develop socioemotional skills in children at an early age and, at the same time, to develop capacities in those who implement the activities. Our results have important implications for the design, implementation, and evaluation of early childhood socioemotional learning programs and provide novel evidence about the challenges faced by interventions combining face-to-face and remote learning.
    Keywords: Preschool learning;socioemotional learning;early childhood development;parent engagement;randomized controlled trial
    JEL: C93 I20 I24
    Date: 2023–05
  11. By: Martín Gonzales-Eiras, Dirk Niepelt
    Abstract: We develop a exible single-state model to represent tradeoffs between infections and activity during the early phase of an epidemic. We prove that optimal policy is continuous in the state but discontinuous in the deterministic arrival date of a cure; optimal lockdowns are followed by stimulus policies; and re-infection risk renders laissez faire ineffcient even in steady state. Calibrated to the COVID-19 pandemic the model prescribes initial activity reductions of 38 percent. Stimulus policies account for a third of the welfare gains of intervention. Robustness along many dimensions contrasts with sensitivity of the policy prescriptions with respect to the intertemporal elasticity of substitution, activity-infections nexus, and re-infection risk.
    Keywords: Epidemic, lockdown, stimulus, logistic model, optimal control, COVID-19
    JEL: D62 I18
    Date: 2023–10
  12. By: Andre, Jennifer (Urban Institute); Blavin, Fredric (Urban Institute); Braga, Breno (Urban Institute); Gangopadhyaya, Anuj (Urban Institute)
    Abstract: This study presents new evidence on the potential detrimental effects of hospital closures. We examine how hospital closures affect the likelihood of incurring medical debt. Hospital closures can increase market concentration by removing a competitor from the market. Closures can also have negative spillover effects on the local economy and affect the population's ability to pay their bills. We combine 2011-2020 consumer credit bureau data with information on hospital closures from 2014-2018 to assess the relationship between closures and medical debt. Using a stacked event study approach, we find that a closure that reduces hospital supply in a Hospital Referral Region (HRR) by 10 percent is associated with a 4 percent increase in the share of consumers with medical debt, with larger effects in HRRs that are urban and have higher rates of poverty. Moreover, we find that a hospital closure is associated with about a 6-8 percent increase in hospital market concentration. These findings suggest that the primary mechanism through which hospital closures affect medical debt is by reducing hospital competition in local markets.
    Keywords: medical debt, hospital closures, hospital competition
    JEL: I11 I14 I18
    Date: 2023–09
  13. By: Mohajan, Devajit
    Abstract: History is the pioneer of all researches and developments, and the history of diabetes has its beginnings in antiquity about over three millennia. Diabetes mellitus is one of the oldest diseases from the human civilization. Also it is one of the most studied diseases in the history of medicine. Main symptoms of this disease are hyperglycaemia, excessive thirsty, increased appetite, gradual loss of body weight, and continuous passing of huge honey-sweet urine that often drew ants. The disease causes either for inadequate insulin production, or for the body cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Descriptions of diabetes mellitus have been found in the Egyptian Papyri, in ancient Indian and Chinese medical literature, and in the works of ancient Greek and Arab physicians. In the 17th century works of Thomas Willis; in the 19th century, the glycogenic action of the liver is done by French physiologist Claude Bernard; famous experiment of removing the pancreas from a dog and producing severe and fatal diabetes are performed by Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering; and finally in the 19th century, isolation of insulin from pancreatic islets is done by Frederick Banting and Charles Best to save diabetes patients from the suffering from diabetes. These are the roots of all achievements in favor of welfare of diabetes patients. At present the prevalence of diabetes is very high worldwide, and is increasing day by day. In this study historical points of diabetes are highlighted for the awareness of this disease.
    Keywords: Dibatics, Papyrus Ebers, ancient period, history, insulin, treatment
    JEL: A1 A13 A14 I1 I12 I15 I3 I31
    Date: 2023–03–10
  14. By: K M, Dr.Siby; K J, Teena Rose
    Abstract: Substance abuse can degenerate the very fabric of a nation by destroying its youth and is detrimental to the development prospects of its economy. The present study makes a temporal analysis of the prevalence, pattern and perception of substance abuse among Higher Secondary and Higher Education Students of Ernakulam District, Kerala. The data was collected both in years 2022 and 2023 and the study constructed three scale variables such as Risk Perception of students towards Substance abuse, Disapproval Rate Score and Perception of Drug Accessibility in order to compare Higher Secondary and Higher Education Students over years 2022 and 2023.The study makes use of Independent Sample t-tests and Two way between-group ANOVA to analyse the data. The study recommends a multipronged approach which on the one hand, cuts the sources of drug, curb the drug peddlers and enforce stringent measures on drug abuse, on the other hand promote awareness among students on the perils of drug abuse and provide counseling and rehabilitation.
    Keywords: Substance Abuse, Risk Perception, Disapproval Rate, Perception of Drug Accessibility
    JEL: I12 I18
    Date: 2023–08–31
  15. By: Vera-Cossio, Diego A.; Hoffmann, Bridget; Pecha, Camilo; Gallego, Jorge; Stampini, Marco; Vargas, David; Medina, María Paula; Álvarez, Esteban
    Abstract: We exploit an expansion in social protection to middle-income households to provide evidence on how middle-income households cope with economic shocks and how to build their resilience. We use a regression discontinuity design around the eligibility cutoff for a program that delivered monthly cash transfers mainly through bank accounts in Colombia. We find no impacts on food security, education, and health outcomes--the target outcomes of antipoverty programs. In contrast, program eligibility increases non-food consumption and reduces debt for routine expenses. Bank account ownership increases by 16%, and beneficiaries are more likely to borrow from formal lenders. Amid systemic and idiosyncratic shocks, the program prevents middle-income households from reducing non-food spending and acquiring debt for routine expenses. Moreover, when hit by severe shocks, beneficiary households substitute away from predatory loans. The results suggest that middle-income households are constrained by lack of insurance and that social protection can build middle-income households' resilience to shocks through both cash transfers and by integrating beneficiaries into formal credit markets.
    Keywords: Basic income;Insurance;Cash transfers
    JEL: I18 I38 O15
    Date: 2023–06
  16. By: Nuevo-Chiquero, Ana (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); Vidal-Fernandez, Marian (University of Sydney); Lehmann, Jee-Yeon K. (University of Houston)
    Abstract: We provide a historical perspective on the birth order effect by examining differences in adult occupational rank among brothers in 19th and early 20th century Netherlands. Using a rich historical dataset compiling administrative birth and marriage registry records linking family members, we further analyze the role of family composition and socio-economic status in modulating the birth order effect. While consistent with findings in modern developed countries, we find that later-born males hold lower-ranked occupations than their older male siblings, we also find that consistent with modern evidence from emerging economies like India and China, this negative birth order effect is primarily driven by differences between the first- and the last-born and their siblings, and by the number of brothers in the family. Birth order differences – particularly the first-born advantage – are larger among socio-economically advantaged families and in more urbanised areas, while the opposite is true for the last-born effect. Surprisingly, the first-born advantage or son-preference is not driven by inheritance rules or transmission of occupations to children born earlier in the family. Taken together, our findings suggest that birth order effects and quantity-quality tradeoffs in families, are not merely modern phenomena but have been a source of context-dependent intrahousehold inequality throughout the centuries.
    Keywords: birth order, first-born, the Netherlands, historical data
    JEL: J01 N14
    Date: 2023–09
  17. By: Albornoz, Facundo; Cruces, Guillermo; Lombardi, María
    Abstract: Do individuals trust experts' advice? Does the sector represented by these experts matter for trust and compliance? Do individuals prefer the public or the private sector for large-scale responses to events such as the pandemic? We answer these questions by means of a large-scale survey on a representative sample of 9, 444 respondents from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. We study if opinions on risk-mitigating actions against Covid-19 are shaped by expert recommendations and the sectors they represent. We identify a backlash against experts' recommendations that is robust across expert sectors and countries, and more pronounced for recommendations that require more effort to implement. We also find that, even for individuals with a low level of trust in the public sector, there is widespread agreement that governments should be preferred over the private sector to lead the production and distribution of vaccines. Most respondents, even those expressing distrust in governments, believe that governments should get involved in producing the vaccine for Covid-19, either exclusively or in a partnership with the private sector. This result is stronger for the distribution of the vaccine than for its production.
    Keywords: Experts;Trust;Public Health;COVID-19
    JEL: I1 I3 H4
    Date: 2023–08
  18. By: Bernal, Pedro; Daga, Giuliana; Kossuth, Lajos; Lopez Boo, Florencia
    Abstract: Understanding health-seeking behaviors and their drivers is key for governments to manage health policies. There is a growing literature on the role of cognitive biases and heuristics in health and care-seeking behaviors, but little is known of how they might be influenced during a context of heightened anxiety and uncertainty. This study analyzes the relationship between four behavioral predictors the internal locus of control, impatience, optimism bias, and aspirations and healthcare decisions among low-income women in El Salvador. We find positive associations between internal locus of control and preventive health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic (use of masks, distance, hand washing, and COVID-19 vaccination) and in general (prenatal checkups, iron-rich diets for children and hypertension tests). Measures of impatience negatively correlate with COVID-19 prevention behaviors and mothers micronutrient treatment adherence for children, and optimism bias and educational aspirations with healthcare-seeking behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some associations were more robust during the pandemic, suggesting that feelings of uncertainty and stress could enhance behavioral drivers influence on health-related behaviors, a novel and relevant finding in the literature relevant for the design of policy responses for future shocks.
    Keywords: healthcare decision-making;behavioral economics;COVID-19;low-income setting;Latin America;El Salvador
    JEL: I12 D10 D91 I30
    Date: 2023–08
  19. By: Fabrice Etilé (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Pierre-Yves Geoffard (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak has generated significant uncertainty about the future, especially for young adults. Health and economic threats, as well as more diffuse concerns about the consequences of COVID-19, can trigger feelings of anxiety, leading individuals to adopt uncertainty-reducing behaviours. We tested whether anxiety was associated with an increase in willingness to be exposed to the risk of COVID-19 infection (WiRE) using an online survey administered to 3, 110 French individuals aged between 18 and 35 years old during the first pandemic wave and lockdown period (April 2020). Overall, 56.5% of the sample declared a positive WiRE. A one standard deviation increase in psychological state anxiety raised the WiRE by +3.9 pp (95% CI [+1.6, 6.2]). Unemployment was associated with a higher WiRE (+8.2 percentage points (pp); 95% CI [+0.9, 15.4]). One standard deviation increases in perceived hospitalisation risk and in income (+1160€) were associated with a -4.1 pp (95% CI [-6.2, 2.1]) decrease in the WiRE and +2.7 pp increase (95% CI [+1.1, 4.4]), respectively. Overall, our results suggest that both psychological anxiety and the prospect of economic losses can undermine young adults' adherence to physical distancing recommendations. Public policies targeting young adults must consider both their economic situation and their mental health, and they must use uncertainty-reducing communication strategies.
    Date: 2022–01
  20. By: Philipp Sprengholz; Luca Henkel; Robert Böhm; Cornelia Betsch
    Abstract: How people recall the SARS-CoV2 pandemic is likely to prove crucial in future societal debates on pandemic preparedness and appropriate political action. Beyond simple forgetting, previous research suggests that recall may be distorted by strong motivations and anchoring perceptions on the current situation.1–6 Here, based on four studies across 11 countries (total N = 10, 776), we show that recall of perceived risk, trust in institutions and protective behaviours depended strongly on current evaluations. While both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals were affected by this bias, people who identified strongly with their vaccination status—whether vaccinated or unvaccinated—tended to exhibit greater and, importantly, opposite distortions of recall. Biased recall was not reduced by providing information about common recall errors or small monetary incentives for accurate recall, but partially by high incentives. Thus, it seems that motivation and identity influence the direction in which the recall of the past is distorted. Biased recall was further related to the evaluation of past political action and future behavioural intent, including adhering to regulations during a future pandemic or punishing politicians and scientists. Taken together, the findings indicate that historical narratives about the COVID-19 pandemic are motivationally biased, sustain societal polarization and affect preparation for future pandemics. Consequently, future measures must look beyond immediate public health implications to the longer-term consequences for societal cohesion and trust.
    Keywords: Memory, identity, polarization, motivated recall
    JEL: C91 D83 D91
    Date: 2023–09
  21. By: Ida Johnsson; M. Hashem Pesaran; Cynthia Fan Yang
    Abstract: This paper proposes a structural econometric approach to estimating the basic reproduction number (R0) of Covid-19. This approach identifies R0 in a panel regression model by filtering out the effects of mitigating factors on disease diffusion and is easy to implement. We apply the method to data from 48 contiguous U.S. states and a diverse set of countries. Our results reveal a notable concentration of R0 estimates with an average value of 4.5. Through a counterfactual analysis, we highlight a significant underestimation of the R0 when mitigating factors are not appropriately accounted for.
    Keywords: basic reproduction number, Covid-19, panel threshold regression model
    JEL: C13 C33 I12 I18 J18
    Date: 2023
  22. By: Fernando M. Aragon, Noelia Bernal, Mariano Bosch and Oswaldo Molina (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on risk and time preferences. Using a longitudinal dataset from a survey of cab drivers in Lima (Peru), we document a significant increase in risk tolerance and patience. The changes are heterogeneous and monotonic by age: older cohorts become more risk-taking while younger ones become more patient. Our findings suggest that the pandemic could have affected individuals’ behavior and socioeconomic outcomes via another channel, namely, changes in economic preferences.
    Date: 2023–09

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