Employers Pushing Healthier Living

“This isn’t about big brother telling people what to do,” says John Rice, GE’s vice-chairman, “but helping them make better choices.” The Economist reviews large employers efforts to improve employee health and thus decrease their own health care costs.  Some of these efforts include: Prohibiting smoking on company premises Handing our healthy recipes Building on-site…

Vice

Economic Inquiry has some interesting articles on the vices of drinking and smoking: Minimum Drinking Age Laws do not affect the rate of traffic fatalities.   Fraternity and Sorority membership increases drinking intensity and frequency. Increased Obesity rates are not caused by the Decreasing number of Smokers.

De gustibus non est disputandum

Eric Crampton argues against the paternalistic view some economists have taken in a recent editorial in Health Economics. Here’s an excerpt: “Of course, most economists would disagree vehemently [that taxing unhealthy behaviors is a good thing]. Raising taxes does tend to reduce consumption and, where consumption generates large negative externalities (costs borne by uninvolved parties)…

Can poverty improve health?

A recent paper by Franco et al. (2007) claims that increased poverty may improve health (see also NPR’s Marketplace report). How is this possible? Lower income reduces excess food as well as cigarette consumption.  Further, poverty makes public transportation less affordable and individuals may substitute walking for taking the bus.  The authors study Cuba’s experience…