Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for November, 2007

The Places in Between

I recently finished reading the fascinating book The Places in Between by Rory Stewart (see also NY Times review). The book describes the authors journey 2002 journal between Herat and Kabul in the middle of winter just after 9-11. Mr. Stewart gives a rarely seen glimpse of life for rural Afghanis and how they view […]

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WTO adopts blue toilet seat for its logo

Yes, its true. The WTO has adopted a blue toilet seat for its logo. This is not surprising, however: the World Toilet Organization–you didn’t think I was talking about the World Trade Organization, did you?–is dedicated to improving sanitation issues around the world. While the blue toilet seat logo, may be amusing, the WTO’s goal […]

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Minute Clinics come to San Diego

Looks like the convenience clinic trend is coming to my neck of the woods in Southern California.  According to the San Diego Union-Tribune (“Are retail clinics a healthy choice?“) six Minute Clinics are opening in San Diego county with ten more on the way before year’s end. These clinics likely will lower the cost of […]

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The Perils of Petrocracy

Can a state run petroleum company be as efficient as a private sector company? The answer is a resounding, “yes but…” It is possible that state-run petroleum companies can be efficient as long as they stick to the business of producing oil. Yet Tina Rosenberg’s “The Perils of Petrocracy” article in the N.Y. Times Sunday […]

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CoR #38

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at SuperSaver.

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Randomization Bias and the Show-up fee

Many economists have conducted experiments to analyze the preferences of different populations. In particular, many researchers have attempted to measure the degree of risk aversion or risk loving for a given population. The researcher hopes that his or her subjects are representative of the overall risk aversion composition of the population sampled. A working paper […]

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More Randomization Problems

Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are the “gold standard” for medical studies. Nevertheless, even RCTs have their problems. An NBER working paper by Ludwig, Marcotte and Norberg points highlights some of these issues. The authors examine whether or not anti-depressants reduce suicide rates (they find that anti-depressants do reduce suicide rates). Unfortunately, using data from RCTs […]

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Local Instrumental Variables

Traditional instrumental variables (IV) econometric methodologies often fail to take into account response heterogeneity. Response heterogeneity based on characteristics not observed by the researcher can create a heterogeneity in the self-selection process. For instance, one group of people who elect to receive surgery may have knowledge of a family history where surgery is typically successful, […]

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Doctor, Doctor, Lend me Your Ear

Here are some tips from Dr. Marissa Weiss on building a good doctor-patient relationship from the patient side. Thanks to Dr. Rich’s Covert Rationing blog for the link. Greet the doctor–or introduce yourself if this is a new physician–with a professional handshake. Let your doctor know what is on your mind and how the doctor […]

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Picking a Medicare Plan

Which Medicare plan should you choose? Health journalist Charles Ornstein of the L.A. Times was making just this choice for his mother in “Puzzling out plan option for Medicare.” Even for a veteran health journalist, the choice is not as easy as it seems. Below, I will give some background information which will help people […]

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