Journal of Health Economics

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0167-6296
Publications
Article
We examine the effect of exposure to a set of toxic pollutants that are tracked by the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) from manufacturing facilities on county-level infant and fetal mortality rates in the United States between 1989 and 2002. Unlike previous studies, we control for toxic pollution from both mobile sources and non-TRI reporting facilities. We find significant adverse effects of toxic air pollution concentrations on infant mortality rates. Within toxic air pollutants we find that releases of carcinogens are particularly problematic for infant health outcomes. We estimate that the average county-level decreases in various categories of TRI concentrations saved in excess of 13,800 infant lives from 1989 to 2002. Using the low end of the range for the value of a statistical life that is typically used by the EPA of $1.8M, the savings in lives would be valued at approximately $25B.
 
Article
This paper explores the measurement of the cost of illness from a theoretical perspective. It is shown that under a wide range of circumstances the aggregate willingness to pay ex ante to reduce the probability of an illness exceeds (1) the consumer surplus gained ex post from such a reduction, and also (2) the sum of medical expenditure saved and output gained. These results are of interest because they provide a stronger basis for presuming that conventional empirical studies estimate lower bounds on the true cost of illness, and because they hold even if medical insurance distorts expenditure decisions.
 
Article
Focusing on 8 drug types on the WHO-approved medicine list, we constructed an original dataset of 899 drug samples from 17 low- and median-income countries and tested them for visual appearance, disintegration, and analyzed their ingredients by chromatography and spectrometry. Fifteen percent of the samples fail at least one test and can be considered substandard. After controlling for local factors, we find that failing drugs are priced 13.6-18.7% lower than non-failing drugs but the signaling effect of price is far from complete, especially for non-innovator brands. The look of the pharmacy, as assessed by our covert shoppers, is weakly correlated with the results of quality tests. These findings suggest that consumers are likely to suspect low quality from market price, non-innovator brand and the look of the pharmacy, but none of these signals can perfectly identify substandard and counterfeit drugs.
 
Article
Nutritional conditions in utero and during infancy may causally affect health and mortality during childhood, adulthood, and at old ages. This paper investigates whether exposure to a nutritional shock in early life negatively affects survival at older ages, using individual data. Nutritional conditions are captured by exposure to the Potato famine in the Netherlands in 1846-1847, and by regional and temporal variation in market prices of potato and rye. The data cover the lifetimes of a random sample of Dutch individuals born between 1812 and 1902 and provide individual information on life events and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. First we non-parametrically compare the total and residual lifetimes of individuals exposed and not exposed to the famine in utero and/or until age 1. Next, we estimate survival models in which we control for individual characteristics and additional (early life) determinants of mortality. We find strong evidence for long-run effects of exposure to the Potato famine. The results are stronger for boys than for girls. Boys and girls lose on average 4, respectively 2.5 years of life after age 50 after exposure at birth to the Potato famine. Lower social classes appear to be more affected by early life exposure to the Potato famine than higher social classes. These results confirm the mechanism linking early life (nutritional) conditions to old-age mortality. Finally, higher food prices at birth appear to reduce later life mortality of children of farmers from higher social classes. We interpret this as an income effect.
 
Article
Between 1895 and 1945, the Japanese colonial government virtually eliminated opium use in Taiwan by licensing and treating existing users, prohibiting sales to others, and raising the price. We evaluate these policies using a two-part model to describe the fraction of the population using opium and consumption among users, and the rational addiction model by Becker et al. (1991). We confirm that opium is addictive and find no evidence supporting the rational addiction hypothesis. Demand is price-elastic with estimated short- and long-run demand elasticities of -0.48 and -1.38. These results have implications for control of other addictive substances.
 
Article
We study the impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic on short- and medium-term economic performance in Sweden. The pandemic was one of the severest and deadliest pandemics in human history, but it has hitherto received only scant attention in the economic literature - despite representing an unparalleled labour supply shock. In this paper, we exploit seemingly exogenous variation in incidence rates between Swedish regions to estimate the impact of the pandemic. The pandemic led to a significant increase in poorhouse rates. There is also evidence that capital returns were negatively affected by the pandemic. However, contrary to predictions, we find no discernible effect on earnings.
 
Article
The double-hurdle perspective suggests that it is crucial to distinguish between per capita and per smoker consumption when estimating the demand for cigarettes. This paper presents a two equation model which identifies consumption and participation as two separate decisions. The model is estimated with annual data on U.K. cigarette expenditure and participation rates, highlighting the differing influence of prices, income and health scares on the participation rate and on smokers' demand for cigarettes.
 
Article
This paper, using a difference-in-differences method, tries to quantify the long-term effects of China's 1959-1961 famine on the health and economic status of the survivors. We find that the great famine caused serious health and economic consequences for the survivors, especially for those in early childhood during the famine. Our estimates show that on average, in the absence of the famine, individuals of the 1959 birth cohort would have otherwise grown 3.03 cm taller in adulthood. The famine also greatly impacted the labor supply and earnings of the survivors with famine exposure during their early childhood.
 
Article
This study analyses the duration of Invalidity Benefit (IVB) claims commencing in 1977/1978 and 1982/1983 using a hazard rate model. The analysis was carried out against a background of a substantial increase in the numbers claiming IVB. The main data base comprises a 1% random sample of all National Insurance records for the period 1975-1984, provided by the DHSS. Estimates are made of factors that influence claim durations. The results suggest that while age and health conditions are important, claim durations are also influenced by more narrowly defined economic considerations.
 
Article
This paper explores whether the state provision of school meals in the 1980s crowded out private provision by examining two policy reforms that radically altered the UK school meal service. Both reforms effectively increased the cost of school meals for one group (the treated), leaving another unaffected (the controls). I find strong evidence of crowd out: the reforms reduced school meal take-up among the treated by 20-30 percentage points, with no difference among the controls. I then examine whether this affected children's body weights, using a large, unique, longitudinal dataset of primary school children from 1972 to 1994. The findings show no evidence of any effects on child body weight.
 
Article
Since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between states and the tobacco industry, states have unprecedented resources for programs to reduce tobacco use. Decisions concerning the use of these funds will, in part, be based on the experiences of states with existing programs. We examine the experiences of several states that have adopted comprehensive tobacco control programs. We also report estimates from econometric analyses of the impact of tobacco control expenditures on aggregate tobacco use in all states and in selected states with comprehensive programs for the period from 1981 through 2000. Our analyses clearly show that increases in funding for state tobacco control programs reduce tobacco use.
 
Article
The Australian hospital system is characterized by the co-existence of private hospitals, where individuals pay for services and public hospitals, where services are free to all but delivered after a waiting time. The decision to purchase insurance for private hospital treatment depends on the trade-off between the price of treatment, waiting time, and the insurance premium. Clearly, the potential for adverse selection and moral hazard exists. When the endogeneity of the insurance decision is accounted for, the extent of moral hazard can substantially increase the expected length of a hospital stay by a factor of up to 3.
 
Article
The last time that federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages were increased was 1991. The changes were larger than the typical state-level changes that have been used to study price effects, but the consequences have not been assessed due to the lack of a control group. Here we develop and implement a novel method for utilizing interstate heterogeneity to estimate the aggregate effects of a federal tax increase on rates of injury fatality and crime. We provide evidence that the relative importance of alcohol in violence and injury rates is directly related to per capita consumption, and build on that finding to generate estimates. A conservative estimate is that the federal tax (which increased alcohol prices by 6% initially) reduced injury deaths by 4.5% (6480 deaths), in 1991, and had a still larger effect on violent crime.
 
Article
We examine the price of treating episodes of acute phase major depression over the 1991-1996 time period. We combine data from a large retrospective medical claims data base (MarketScan, from the Medstat Group) with clinical literature and expert clinical opinion elicited from a two-stage Delphi procedure. This enables us to construct a variety of treatment price indexes that include variations over time in the proportion of the "off-frontier" production, as well as the corresponding variations in expected treatment outcomes. We find that in general the incremental cost of successfully treating an episode of acute phase major depression has generally fallen over the 1991-1996 time period. Based on hedonic regression equations that account for the effects of changing patient mix, we find reductions that range from about -1.66 to -2.13% per year.
 
Article
We extend the recent literature on peer effects to test the possible role of asymmetric social influences in the determination of youth smoking. We analyzed cigarette smoking among people aged 15-24 in approximately 90,000 households in the 1992-1999 U.S. Current Population Surveys. The presence of additional smoking sibling in a household, we estimated, raised a young person's probability of smoking by 7.6%, while each non-smoking sibling lowered the probability by an estimated 3.5%. Moreover, the overall deterrent effect of an increase in cigarette price on the probability of smoking was approximately 60% greater than the estimated effect when peer influences were held constant. The concept of asymmetric social influence may have applications in other fields, including labor economics, education, crime prevention, and group dynamics.
 
Article
The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between the major tobacco companies and 46 states created an abrupt 20% increase in cigarette prices in November 1998. Earlier estimates of the elasticity of prenatal smoking implied that the price rise would reduce prenatal cigarette smoking by 7-20%. Using birth records on 9.8 million US births between January 1996 and February 2000, we examined the change in smoking during pregnancy and conditional smoking intensity in response to the MSA. Overall, adjusting for secular trends in smoking, prenatal smoking declined by less than half what was predicted in response to the MSA.
 
Article
Health progress, as measured by the decline in mortality rates and the increase in life expectancy, is usually conceived as related to economic growth, especially in the long run. In this investigation it is shown that economic growth is positively associated with health progress in Sweden throughout the 19th century. However, the relation becomes weaker as time passes and is completely reversed in the second half of the 20th century, when economic growth negatively affects health progress. The effect of the economy on health occurs mostly at lag zero in the 19th century and is lagged up to two years in the 20th. No evidence is found for economic effects on mortality at greater lags. These findings are shown to be robustly consistent across a variety of statistical procedures, including linear regression, spectral analysis, cross-correlation, and lag regression models. Models using inflation and unemployment as economic indicators reveal similar results. Evidence for reverse effects of health progress on economic growth is weak, and unobservable in the second half of the 20th century.
 
Estimated coefficients, goodness-of-fit, and statistical tests for the fixed effects models of the demand for 10 beverage categories. 
Article
The estimation of price elasticities of alcohol demand is valuable for the appraisal of price-based policy interventions such as minimum unit pricing and taxation. This study applies a pseudo-panel approach to the cross-sectional Living Cost and Food Survey 2001/2-2009 to estimate the own- and cross-price elasticities of off- and on-trade beer, cider, wine, spirits and ready-to-drinks in the UK. A pseudo-panel with 72 subgroups defined by birth year, gender and socioeconomic status is constructed. Estimated own-price elasticities from the base case fixed effect models are all negative and mostly statically significant (p<0.05). Off-trade cider and beer are most elastic (-1.27 and -0.98) and off-trade spirits and on-trade ready-to-drinks are least elastic (-0.08 and -0.19). Estimated cross-price elasticities are smaller in magnitude with a mix of positive and negative signs. The results appear plausible and robust and could be used for appraising the estimated impact of price-based interventions in the UK.
 
Article
We evaluated the impact of Seguro Popular (SP), a program introduced in 2001 in Mexico primarily to finance health care for the poor. We focused on the effect of household enrollment in SP on pregnant women's access to obstetrical services, an important outcome measure of both maternal and infant health. We relied upon data from the cross-sectional 2006 National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT) in Mexico. We analyzed the responses of 3890 women who delivered babies during 2001-2006 and whose households lacked employer-based health care coverage. We formulated a multinomial probit model that distinguished between three mutually exclusive sites for delivering a baby: a health unit specifically accredited by SP; a non-SP-accredited clinic run by the Department of Health (Secretaría de Salud, or SSA); and private obstetrical care. Our model accounted for the endogeneity of the household's binary decision to enroll in the SP program. Women in households that participated in the SP program had a much stronger preference for having a baby in a SP-sponsored unit rather than paying out of pocket for a private delivery. At the same time, participation in SP was associated with a stronger preference for delivering in the private sector rather than at a state-run SSA clinic. On balance, the Seguro Popular program reduced pregnant women's attendance at an SSA clinic much more than it reduced the probability of delivering a baby in the private sector. The quantitative impact of the SP program varied with the woman's education and health, as well as the assets and location (rural vs. urban) of the household. The SP program had a robust, significantly positive impact on access to obstetrical services. Our finding that women enrolled in SP switched from non-SP state-run facilities, rather than from out-of-pocket private services, is important for public policy and requires further exploration.
 
Article
The length of hospital stay and effectiveness of medical treatment are analyzed using data of patients hospitalized due to hip fractures of four hospitals in Japan. The influence of the Revision of the Medical Service Fee Schedule in April, 2002, is evaluated, and factors which may have affected the length of stay and effectiveness of treatment (walking ability upon departure from the hospital) are also analyzed by a newly developed simultaneous equation model. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
 
Article
Do sudden, large wealth losses affect mental health? We use exogenous variation in the interview dates of the 2008 Health and Retirement Study to assess the impact of large wealth losses on mental health among older U.S. adults. We compare cross-wave changes in wealth and mental health for respondents interviewed before and after the October 2008 stock market crash. We find that the crash reduced wealth and increased feelings of depression and use of antidepressant drugs, and that these effects were largest among respondents with high levels of stock holdings prior to the crash. These results suggest that sudden wealth losses cause immediate declines in subjective measures of mental health. However, we find no evidence that wealth losses lead to increases in clinically-validated measures of depressive symptoms or indicators of depression.
 
Article
Many governments have health programs focused on improving health among the poor and these have an impact on out-of-pocket health payments made by individuals. Therefore, one of the objectives of these programs is to reach the poorest and reduce their out-of-pocket expenditure. In this paper we propose the distributional poverty impact approach to measure the poverty impact of out-of-pocket health payments of different health financing policies. This approach is comparable to the impoverishment methodology proposed by Wagstaff and van Doorslaer (2003) that compares poverty indices before and after out-of-pocket health payments. In order to escape the specification of a particular poverty index, we use the marginal dominance approach that uses non-intersecting curves and can rank poverty reducing health financing policies. We present an empirical application of the out-of-pocket health payments for an innovative social financing policy implemented in Mexico named Seguro Popular. The paper finds evidence that Seguro Popular program has a better distributional poverty impact when families face illness when compared to other poverty reducing policies. The empirical dominance approach uses data from Mexico in 2006 and considers international poverty standards of $2 per person per day.
 
Article
In surveys of well-being, countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands emerge as particularly happy while nations like Germany and Italy report lower levels of happiness. But are these kinds of findings credible? This paper provides some evidence that the answer is yes. Using data on 16 countries, it shows that happier nations report systematically lower levels of hypertension. As well as potentially validating the differences in measured happiness across nations, this suggests that blood-pressure readings might be valuable as part of a national well-being index. A new ranking of European nations' GHQ-N6 mental health scores is also given.
 
Article
This paper reports on the findings of a study to derive a preference-based measure of health from the SF-36 for use in economic evaluation. The SF-36 was revised into a six-dimensional health state classification called the SF-6D. A sample of 249 states defined by the SF-6D have been valued by a representative sample of 611 members of the UK general population, using standard gamble. Models are estimated for predicting health state valuations for all 18,000 states defined by the SF-6D. The econometric modelling had to cope with the hierarchical nature of the data and its skewed distribution. The recommended models have produced significant coefficients for levels of the SF-6D, which are robust across model specification. However, there are concerns with some inconsistent estimates and over prediction of the value of the poorest health states. These problems must be weighed against the rich descriptive ability of the SF-6D, and the potential application of these models to existing and future SF-36 data set.
 
Article
This study explores factors that influence participation in genetic testing programs and the acceptance of multiple tests. Tay Sachs and cystic fibrosis are both genetically determined recessive disorders with differing severity, treatment availability, and prevalence in different population groups. We used a discrete choice experiment with a general community and an Ashkenazi Jewish sample; data were analysed using multinomial logit with random coefficients. Although Jewish respondents were more likely to be tested, both groups seem to be making very similar tradeoffs across attributes when they make genetic testing choices.
 
Article
In the original US valuation study of EQ-5D states, all worse-than-dead time trade-off responses (26% of the sample) were divided by 39 to increase the QALY estimates. This transformation has no theoretical justification and motivates this re-examination. Using the publically available dataset, we compared three alternative random utility models: instant (IRUM), angular (ARUM), and episodic (ERUM) models. Each leads to a distinct econometric estimator: mean ratio, ratio of means, and coefficient, respectively. IRUM suggests that 203 of the 243 EQ-5D states are worse-than-dead, which has little face validity compared to ARUM and ERUM (42 and 3 WTD states). ARUM and ERUM estimates are proportionally related such that losses in QALYs are approximately 37% larger under ARUM than ERUM. Compared to ERUM, economic evaluations using ARUM estimates emphasize quality of life, and this difference may influence policy decisions. Either ERUM or ARUM values sets are recommended over the original, transformed set.
 
The EuroQol health dimensions and their scores
Ž Ž .. Parameter estimates for the multiplicative model Eq. 10 on the basis of normalised average values
estimates with interaction parameters. Estimates based on the individual values. v s the 12 first order between mobility and self-care
Article
Generic health status measures classify patients into different health states. For example, the EQ-5D descriptive system developed by the EuroQol Group classifies patients into 243 health states. Empirical values for the health states are available for only a selection (mostly 12 to 45) of these health states. Several parametric relationships between the descriptive system and the known values can be formulated to estimate the values for the unrecorded health states. This paper describes several of these modeling exercises in a comprehensible way, using the EQ-5D as an illustration. It is shown that the estimation task does not depend on the meaning of the values, but does depend on the selection of the empirically valued health states and the assumptions about the relationship between these values and the descriptive system.
 
-Inference for the 197 health states.
-continued
Article
Objectives: This article reports on the findings from applying a recently described approach to modeling health state valuation data and the impact of the respondent characteristics on health state valuations. The approach applies a nonparametric model to estimate a Bayesian six-dimensional health state short form (derived from short-form 36 health survey) health state valuation algorithm. Methods: A sample of 197 states defined by the six-dimensional health state short form (derived from short-form 36 health survey)has been valued by a representative sample of the Hong Kong general population by using standard gamble. The article reports the application of the nonparametric model and compares it to the original model estimated by using a conventional parametric random effects model. The two models are compared theoretically and in terms of empirical performance. Results: Advantages of the nonparametric model are that it can be used to predict scores in populations with different distributions of characteristics than observed in the survey sample and that it allows for the impact of respondent characteristics to vary by health state (while ensuring that full health passes through unity). The results suggest an important age effect with sex, having some effect, but the remaining covariates having no discernible effect. Conclusions: The nonparametric Bayesian model is argued to be more theoretically appropriate than previously used parametric models. Furthermore, it is more flexible to take into account the impact of covariates.
 
Article
This paper presents a novel approach to model health state valuations using inverse probability weighting techniques. Our approach makes no assumption on the distribution of health state values, accommodates covariates in a flexible way, eschews parametric assumptions on the relationship between the outcome and the covariates, allows for an undetermined amount of heterogeneity in the estimates and it formally tests and corrects for sample selection biases. The proposed model is semi-parametrically estimated and it is illustrated with health state valuation data collected for Spain using the SF-6D descriptive system. Estimation results indicate that the standard regression model underestimates the utility loss that the Spanish general population assigns to departures from full health, particularly so for severe departures.
 
Article
We use household survey data and a unique census of institutionalized children to analyze the impact of abortion legalization in Romania. We exploit the lift of the abortion ban in December 1989, when communist dictator Ceausescu and his regime were removed from power, to understand its impact on children's health at birth and during early childhood and whether the lift of the ban had an immediate impact on child abandonment. We find insignificant estimates for health at birth outcomes and anthropometric z-scores at age 4 and 5, except for the probability of low birth weight which is slightly higher for children born after abortion became legal. Additionally, our findings suggest that the lift of the ban had decreased the number of abandoned children.
 
Article
During the 1990s, concerns that nonprofit (NP) hospitals were being sold at below-market prices to investor-owned (IO) chains helped to prompt the widespread adoption of state laws regulating the sale and conversion of nonprofits. In this paper, we provide a simple test of under-pricing using the IO acquirer's abnormal stock market returns at the time of the acquisition. Prior to regulation, we find that IO chains did not earn abnormal returns from their acquisitions of NPs and earned greater returns from purchasing other IO and privately owned hospitals. In states that subsequently adopted regulations, acquisition activity slowed significantly and acquirer returns became negative. Efficient markets theory suggests that, absent regulation, expected merger synergies were already being transferred to the NP target and that regulation may have reduced expected synergies or increased the costs of acquiring NP hospitals.
 
Article
We use a vector autoregression to examine the dynamic relationship between the race-specific percentage of pregnancies terminated by induced abortion and the race-specific percentage of low-birthweight births in New York City. With monthly data beginning in 1972, we find that induced abortion explains low birthweight for blacks, but not for whites. There is no evidence of feedback from low birthweight to induced abortion. The findings suggest that unanticipated decreases in the percentage of pregnancies terminated by induced abortion would worsen birth outcomes among blacks in New York City.
 
Article
This paper uses data on abortion rates by state from 1974-1988 to estimate two-stage least squares models with fixed state and year effects. Restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortion are correlated with lower abortion rates in-state and higher rates among nearby states. A maximal estimate suggests that 19-25% of the abortions among low-income women that are publicly funded do not take place after funding is eliminated. Parental notification laws for teen abortions do not significantly affect aggregate abortion rates. A larger number of abortion providers in a state increases the abortion rate, primarily through inducing cross-state travel.
 
Article
This paper uses data on the distribution of abortions by weeks of gestation to examine the relationship between abortion restrictions and the timing of abortions. State-level data from 1974 to 1997 indicate that adoption of parental involvement laws for minors or enforcement of mandatory waiting periods is positively associated with the post-first trimester percentage of abortions. However, autocorrelation-corrected specifications indicate that enforced parental involvement laws increase the share of later-term abortions by lowering the first trimester abortion rate rather than by delaying abortions. Medicaid funding restrictions generally do not have a significant effect on the timing of abortions in our results.
 
Article
We use unique data on abortions performed in New York State from 1971 to 1975 to demonstrate that women traveled hundreds of miles for a legal abortion before Roe. A 100-mile increase in distance for women who live approximately 183miles from New York was associated with a decline in abortion rates of 12.2 percent whereas the same change for women who lived 830miles from New York lowered abortion rates by 3.3 percent. The abortion rates of nonwhites were more sensitive to distance than those of whites. We found a positive and robust association between distance to the nearest abortion provider and teen birth rates but less consistent estimates for other ages. Our results suggest that even if some states lost all abortion providers due to legislative policies, the impact on population measures of birth and abortion rates would be small as most women would travel to states with abortion services.
 
Article
We evaluate the effects of a reduction in sick pay from 100 to 80% of the wage. Unlike previous literature, apart from absence from work, we also consider effects on doctor/hospital visits and subjective health indicators. We also add to the literature by estimating both switch-on and switch-off effects, because the reform was repealed 2 years later. We find a 2-day reduction in the number of days of absence. Quantile regression reveals higher point estimates (both in absolute and relative terms) at higher quantiles, meaning that the reform predominantly reduced long durations of absence. In terms of health, the reform reduced the average number of days spent in hospital by almost half a day, but we cannot find robust evidence for negative effects on health outcomes or perceived liquidity constraints.
 
Article
What is the impact of being told that one has hypertension? According to evidence from randomized controlled trials one effect of labelling is an increase in illness related absenteeism among those who were unaware of their blood pressure status. Moreover, this effect exists even when no objective medical reasons justify such immediate increases in absenteeism. In this paper we present an economic explanation of this phenomenon based on the interpretation of absenteeism as a demand for days off work. In a two-period life cycle model, we show that a lower perceived probability of survival through the second period increases the demand for first-period leisure.
 
Article
Using administrative data from Norway, we examine the extent to which family doctors influence their clients' propensity to claim sick-pay. The analysis exploits exogenous switches of family doctors occurring when physicians quit, retire, or for other reasons sell their patient lists. We find that family doctors have significant influence on their clients' absence behavior, particularly on absence duration. Their influence is stronger in geographical areas with weaker competition between physicians. We conclude that it is possible for family doctors to contain sick-pay expenditures to some extent, and that there is a considerable variation in the way they perform this task.
 
Article
Based on comprehensive administrative register data from Norway, we examine the determinants of sickness absence behavior; in terms of employee characteristics, workplace characteristics, panel doctor characteristics, and economic conditions. The analysis is based on a novel concept of a worker's steady state sickness absence propensity, computed from a multivariate hazard rate model designed to predict the incidence and duration of sickness absence for all workers. Key conclusions are that (i) most of the cross-sectional variation in absenteeism is caused by genuine employee heterogeneity; (ii) the identity of a person's panel doctor has a significant impact on absence propensity; (iii) sickness absence insurance is frequently certified for reasons other than sickness; and (iv) the recovery rate rises enormously just prior to the exhaustion of sickness insurance benefits.
 
Article
This paper examines absence behaviour in relation to the working environment. A theoretical model is built in order to separate the effects of voluntary absences and absences related to ill health, where health effects are assumed to be tied to working conditions. This model is based on the Shapiro and Stiglitz efficiency wage model. In addition, work environment is introduced as a part of the compensation package. The model gives a testable hypothesis of compensating wage differentials. A panel of quarterly firm level data from 1990 to 1998 are used and the theoretical model is supported by the empirical findings. The result indicates that the workers may not be fully compensated when experiencing high levels of noise in the work area, or when the job involves a high degree of monotonous work, heavy or frequent lifting or poor work postures. Ill health, and thus increased long-term absence, is not highly related to economic variables. However, long-term absence is relatively higher if the firm is troubled with many accidents or near misses. In addition, disamenities for which workers are not fully compensated cause ill health and increased long-term absence.
 
Article
This paper incorporates some theoretical ideas from the study of the epidemiology of infectious illness into a model of worker absence. The paper then seeks to quantify such infection effects by examining a personnel dataset which allows us to track daily absence decisions of a group of industrial workers employed in the same factory. We find significant effects of our measure of sickness in the (rest of the) workforce on the absence probabilities of individual workers, and offer a suggestion on how this might be used by managers to gauge the extent of illness transmission within the workplace.
 
Article
An estimated 70 percent of illicit drug users are in the workforce. This paper studies workplace policies relating to drug abuse treatment and testing in a labor market with asymmetric information about worker proclivities to abuse drugs and to incur costs of workplace accidents. Drug abuse has a moral hazard component related to worker choice of treatment or other deterrent activities, and a selection component related to drug testing. We characterize the type and frequency of workers treated and tested in labor market equilibrium. Labor market incentives will generally lead to too little treatment and too much testing.
 
Article
This paper examines the effect of banning broadcast advertising of alcoholic beverages. The data used in this study are a pooled time series from 17 countries for the period 1970 to 1983. The empirical results show that countries with bans on spirits advertising have about 16% lower alcohol consumption than countries with no bans and that countries with bans on beer and wine advertising have about 11% lower alcohol consumption than countries with bans only on spirits advertising.
 
Article
We use a pooled time-series cross-section of live births in New York City between 1980 and 1989 to investigate the dramatic rise in low birthweight, especially among Blacks, that occurred in the mid 1980s. After controlling for other risk factors, we estimate that the number of excess low birthweight births attributable to illicit substance abuse over this period ranged from approximately 1,482 to 3,359. The increase represents between 3.2 and 7.3% of all LBW over the period resulting in excess neonatal admission costs of between $18 and $41 million.
 
Article
Improving patient compliance with physicians' treatment or prescription recommendations is an important goal in medical practice. We examine the relationship between treatment progress and patient compliance. We hypothesize that patients balance expected benefits and costs during a treatment episode when deciding on compliance; a patient is more likely to comply if doing so results in an expected gain in health benefit. We use a unique data set of outpatient alcohol abuse treatment to identify a relationship between treatment progress and compliance. Treatment progress is measured by the clinician's comments after each attended visit. Compliance is measured by a client attending a scheduled appointment, and continuing with treatment. We find that a patient who is making progress is less likely to drop out of treatment. We find no evidence that treatment progress raises the likelihood of a patient attending the next scheduled visit. Our results are robust to unobserved patient heterogeneity.
 
Article
The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of alcohol regulation on physical child abuse. Given the positive relationship between alcohol consumption and violence, and the negative relationship between consumption and price, the principal hypothesis to be tested is that an increase in the price of alcohol will lead to a reduction in the incidence of violence. We also examine the effects of illegal drug prices and alcohol availability on the incidence of child abuse. Equations are estimated separately for mothers and fathers, and include state fixed effects. Results indicate that increases in the beer tax may decrease the incidence of violence committed by females but not by males.
 
Article
We conduct an audit study in which a pair of simulated patients with identical flu-like complaints visits the same physician. Simulated patient A is instructed to ask a question that showcases his/her knowledge of appropriate antibiotic use, whereas patient B is instructed to say nothing beyond describing his/her symptoms. We find that a patient who displays knowledge of appropriate antibiotics use reduces both antibiotic prescription rates and drug expenditures. Such knowledge also increases physicians' information provision about possible side effects, but has a negative impact on the quality of the physician-patient interactions. Our results suggest that antibiotics abuse in China is not driven by patients actively demanding antibiotics, but is largely a supply-side phenomenon.
 
Article
This paper identifies which types of patients and hospitals have abusive Medicare billings that are responsive to law enforcement. For a 20% random sample of elderly Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized from 1994 to 1998 with one or more of six illnesses that are prone to abuse, we obtain longitudinal claims data linked with social security death records, hospital characteristics, and state/year-level anti-fraud enforcement efforts. We show that increased enforcement leads certain types of types of patients and hospitals to have lower billings, without adverse consequences for patients' health outcomes.
 
Article
Recent studies have shown that efforts to curb youths' alcohol use, such as increasing the price of alcohol or limiting youths' access, have succeeded but may have had the unintended consequence of increasing marijuana use. This possibility is troubling in light of the doubling of teen marijuana use from 1990 to 1997. What impact will recent increases in cigarette prices have on the demand for other substances, such as marijuana? To better understand how the demand for marijuana and tobacco responds to changes in the policies and prices that affect their use, we explore the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) from 1990 to 1996. We find evidence that both higher fines for marijuana possession and increased probability of arrest decrease the probability that a young adult will use marijuana. We also find that higher cigarette taxes appear to decrease the intensity of marijuana use and may have a modest negative effect on the probability of use among males.
 
Top-cited authors
Adam Wagstaff
  • World Bank
Willard G Manning
  • University of Chicago
Henry G Grabowski
  • Duke University
Ronald Hansen
  • University of Rochester
Eddy van Doorslaer
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam