nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2007‒10‒27
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. The Origins and the Evolution of Health Economics: a discipline by itself? Led by economists, practitioners or politics? By Luís Pina Rebelo
  2. The Impact of Research Grant Funding on Scientific Productivity By Brian Jacob; Lars Lefgren
  3. Estimating Marginal Returns to Higher Education in the UK By Robert Moffitt

  1. By: Luís Pina Rebelo (Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto))
    Abstract: Health has become a dominant economic and political issue over the past 40 years, with nations experiencing rapid rises in health care spending, and the health sector presenting high levels of expansion, rationalization and organization. I describe how by the end of World War II, both the intellectual and financial resources were being made available to answer the emerging empirically driven questions for a new applied branch of economic analysis: Health Economics. I also discuss the driving forces for the evolution of this new field, while identifying two distinct paths in health economic thought: the first rising from a territory previously ploughed, namely by Mushkin (1962), and later developed by Grossman (1972); the second of which stemming from Arrow’s 1963 paper ‘Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care’, a singularity amongst his mathematical economics pearls. Blaug remarked, in 1998, “health economics would seem to be a perfect topic for heterodox dissent and yet, surprisingly enough, radical economists and Marxists have not on the whole been attracted to health economics”. My view is this could have been because “mathematical economists” stepped forward and challenged themselves to solve problems such an unorthodox market posed.
    Keywords: Health Economics, Health Care Sector/ U.S. History, Social Welfare
    JEL: B20 I10 I11 I18 N32 N42
    Date: 2007–10
  2. By: Brian Jacob; Lars Lefgren
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the impact of receiving an NIH grant on subsequent publications and citations. Our sample consists of all applications (unsuccessful as well as successful) to the NIH from 1980 to 2000 for postdoctoral training grants (F32s) and standard research grants (R01s). Both OLS and regression discontinuity estimates show that receipt of either an NIH postdoctoral fellowship or research grant leads to about one additional publication over the next five years. The estimates represent about 20 and 7 percent increases in research productivity for F32 and R01 recipients respectively. The limited research impact of NIH grants may be explained in part by a model in which the market for research funding is competitive, so that the loss of an NIH grant simply causes researchers to shift to another source of funding.
    JEL: H0 H51 I1 I12 I18 O3 O38
    Date: 2007–10
  3. By: Robert Moffitt
    Abstract: A long-standing issue in the literature on education is whether marginal returns to education fall as education rises. If the population differs in its rate of return, a closely related question is whether marginal returns to higher education fall as a greater fraction of the population enrolls. This paper proposes a nonparametric method of estimating marginal treatment effects in heterogeneous populations, and applies it to this question, examining returns to higher education in the UK. The results indicate that marginal returns to higher education fall as the proportion of the population with higher education rises, consistent with the Becker Woytinsky Lecture hypothesis.
    JEL: C21 J24
    Date: 2007–10

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