Health economics

Rainer Kotschy, David Bloom, 25 May 2022

Declining fertility rates and longer life expectancies are producing an ageing global population. This column investigates the challenges that rapidly ageing societies pose to systems of long-term care. To avoid shortages in the workforce, the long-term care industry should endeavour to improve working conditions while also recruiting workers from a larger pool. Investing in disability prevention and rehabilitation are also promising avenues to absorb pressure from growing long-term care needs.

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel, 10 May 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of Ukrainian children to leave their schools and homes. Such adverse shocks early in life can have profound long-term effects. This column presents evidence from WWII and the Vietnam War of how childhood war exposure had detrimental effects on education, physical and mental health, and labour market outcomes, even decades after the conflicts. The effects were most pronounced for girls and children of lower socioeconomic status. Policies that prioritise children are essential to reduce the enduring effects of war.

Sourafel Girma, David Paton, 29 April 2022

Richard Posner argued that legalising assisted suicide may have the counter-intuitive effect of reducing unassisted and possibly even total suicide rates. This column examines the empirical evidence for this idea using data from ten US states that implemented an assisted suicide law up to the end of 2019. In contrast to Posner’s hypothesis, the real-world data suggest that assisted suicide laws lead to a substantial increase in total suicide rates and, if anything, are associated with an increase even in unassisted suicides. This effect is most pronounced amongst women.

Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 23 April 2022

GDP per capita is a commonly used, but imperfect, proxy for human wellbeing. This column analyses the relationship between life expectancy at birth and per capita income over the past 150 years. It shows that life expectancy and per capita income growth behaved differently in terms of trends and distribution over the period. The relationship was particularly weak during the period 1914 to 1950. Separately, medical improvements and the diffusion of medical knowledge have been crucial drivers of life expectancy improvements across the world.

Claudio Deiana, Andrea Geraci, Gianluca Mazzarella, Fabio Sabatini, 23 April 2022

Vaccine hesitancy has threatened the success of COVID immunisation campaigns worldwide, making the reasons that people refuse vaccination a central issue for policymakers. This column exploits a quasi-experiment arising from the suspension of the ChAdOx1-S vaccine – initially called AstraZeneca and later rebranded Vaxzevria – during the Italian immunisation campaign. The authors find that the suspension led to the public inflating the risk of vaccine-adverse events and in turn fuelled vaccine hesitancy, especially in areas with fewer cases. 

Other Recent Articles:

Events

CEPR Policy Research