Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Economics – General' Category

Universal Basic Income

Universal basic income is the idea that all individuals in a society should be guaranteed a minimum income.  The logic behind this approach is one of equity.  Many members of society feel that all individuals are entitled to some basic level of financial well-being regardless of their skills, ability or willingness to work. Current government […]

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Can financial incentives increase the effectiveness of weight loss programs?

As an economist, I would say “of course”!  Increasing the price (the reward for weight loss) generally leads to an increase in supply (of efforts to lose weight).  However, there is evidence that in some cases, adding a financial incentive can actually reduce effort.  For instance, Uri Gneezy and Aldo Rustichini (2000) found that adding […]

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Is more income equality a good thing?

This is a normative question.  Some people would prefer a society with more income re-distribution.  More income re-distribution is “fairer” in the sense that fewer people would suffer from a low standard of living.  Most societies (and individual humans) place at least a some value in insuring that the worst off amongst us have some resources at their […]

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Will federal government spending be captured by the elderly?

According to a January 2017 report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), spending on entitlement programs for the elderly is the primary factor driving increased budget deficets over the next 10 years.  The CBO states: Outlays rise faster than revenues—by about 5 percent a year, on average—increasing from 20.7 percent of GDP in 2017 to […]

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Bengt Holmström’s Nobel Prize Lecture

Nobel Prize winner Bengt Holmström talks about the pros and cons of  pay-for-performance.  Interesting throughout.

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The Benefits and Perils of Free Trade

Russ Roberts has a great example demonstrating the benefits and perils of free trade with a health care example. Suppose a scientist invents a pill that once you take it lets you live until 120 with no health issues whatsoever. Once you turn 120, you die a peaceful death on your birthday. Suppose the scientist, […]

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2016 Nobel Prize in Economics goes to…

…Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström for their research on contract theory. One of my favorite papers in all of economics is Holmstrom and Milgrom’s 1991 paper titled “Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design.”  In a world where health care is increasingly moving to value-based payment, payers (i.e., insurance companies, employers, and the government) are increasingly […]

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Economic Dimensions of Personalized and Precision Medicine

I am attending a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Pre-Conference on Economic Dimensions of Personalized and Precision Medicine. You can find the meeting agenda here. The speakers today were very interesting and touched on a number of topics with respect to precision medicine including: Measuring the value of a precision medicine diagnostic test Determining […]

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Useful mental models

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has a list of mental models that he believes “come up repeatedly in day-to-day decision making, problem solving, and truth seeking.”   Many are from the world of economics, but I focus on non-economic models as well.  I organzie them into categories based on how Weinberg did in his post. I have […]

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The coming U.S. debt crisis

The Congressional Budget Office provides some gloomy news on the fiscal health of the federal government in their recent 2016 Long Term Budget Outlook.  They state: If current laws governing taxes and spending did not change, the United States would face steadily increasing federal budget deficits and debt over the next 30 years, according to projections […]

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