Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

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 […]

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Smoking’s Impact on Longevity across the World

One measure of longevity that may better reflect the quality of a medical care in a country is life expectancy at age 50.  According to a recent article in the Penn SAS Magazine (p. 16-p.17) life expectancy in the U.S. for non-smokers is 84.9 for females and 81.2 for males.  These figures rank 7th and […]

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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.

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Risk aversion and health behaviors

Are risk averse individuals less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors?  According to Anderson and Mellor (JHE 2008), the answer is yes.  Using a Holt and Laury (AER 2002) methodology to measure risk aversion, the authors find that individuals who are risk averse are less likely to smoke, drink, be overweight or drive over the […]

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Does more education improve your health?

A recent JHE article by Park and Kang wonder if more education induces people to have a healthier lifestyle.  They use data on Korean men to see if this is the case.  They find that “an increase in education induces individuals to exercise regularly, and to get regular health checkups…[but]…education has little effect on smoking […]

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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) […]

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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 […]

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