Health economics

Sara Lowes, Eduardo Montero, 13 May 2018

Delivery of health aid can be jeopardised by distrust at the local level. This column uses evidence from French military campaigns in Cameroon and former French Equatorial Africa to show that a significant reason for this distrust may be aid recipients’ historical experiences of colonial medical campaigns. Building and maintaining trust in medicine should remain a priority for modern health interventions.

Stefan Pichler, Nicolas Robert Ziebarth, 12 May 2018

In the past decade, dozens of US cities and seven US states have mandated employers to offer paid sick leave. This column investigates the relationship between sick pay and influenza-like illness rates. The results suggest that the mandates reduced the spread of infectious diseases, while having no significant effect on employment or wages.

Michael Grossman, Dhaval Dave, Henry Saffer, Don Kenkel, Daniel Dench, 05 May 2018

In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration extended its authority over tobacco products to include e-cigarettes. This column argues that advertising restrictions and taxes on e-cigarettes could discourage people from quitting traditional cigarettes. However, little is known about the long-term health consequences of the use of e-cigarettes, so it is too early to conclude that unrestricted advertising of e-cigarettes and low or no federal taxation would advance public health.

Manuel Hermosilla, Jorge Lemus, 18 March 2018

There has been criticism that the ‘genetic revolution’ heralded by the completion of the Human Genome Project has failed to meet the more optimistic expectations of 15 years ago and that patient outcomes have not materially improved. This column analyses the extent to which basic genetic science has fuelled early-stage drug innovation. The results suggest that alleged ‘slower-than-expected’ progress has been partly caused by the amount of complexity in human biology, which was unexpected prior to the Project’s completion but has been progressively revealed since then.

Julia Cagé, Valeria Rueda, 17 March 2018

HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa is often shaped by the influence of Christian churches, tending to focus on abstinence rather than safer sexual behaviour. This column investigates the relationship between historical Christian missionary activities and HIV prevalence today. Regions close to missions in general tend to exhibit higher HIV prevalence, an effect that is driven by Protestant missions. Regions close to missions that specifically invested in health, however, exhibit lower HIV prevalence today.

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