Health economics

Richard Akresh, Daniel Halim, Marieke Kleemans, 18 May 2019

Does investment in schools promote higher educational attainment—and do the effects improve students’ later lives and those of the next generation? This column examines the impact of over 61,000 primary schools built by the Indonesian government between 1973 and 1979, almost doubling the number in the country. The evidence shows that the men and women who accessed education provided by the construction programme benefited from significant improvements in their educational and later life outcomes. So too did their children.

Michael Kremer, Christopher Snyder, Fanele Mashwama, 10 May 2019

Consumers pay more for many pharmaceuticals in the US than in most other countries. This column investigates the welfare implications of such price discrimination using demand curves for HIV pharmaceuticals. A ban on price discrimination exacerbates the potentially large deadweight loss in the market for either a drug or a vaccine. However, this loss is ameliorated by a small government subsidy.

Mariacristina De Nardi, 03 May 2019

MariaCristina De Nardi tells Tim Phillips that non-college-educated Americans born in the 1960s are dying younger, earning less, and paying more for healthcare than in their parents' generation.

David Bloom, Alyssa Lubet, 29 April 2019

As baby boomers get older, many high-income countries face challenges in the provision of pensions and healthcare. The column argues that the US has particularly acute problems arising from its ageing population, high healthcare costs, and high inequality in maternal mortality and other health indicators. It will take deep social policy and health system reforms to address these inequalities.

Michael Darden, Nicholas W. Papageorge, 02 March 2019

When people lack options to manage pain many choose to ‘self-medicate’, turning to substances that are dangerous and ‘off label’ in an effort to seek relief. This column tests a theory of rational self-medication in the context of alcohol and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which were approved in the US in the mid-1980s, appear to have had an indirect benefit by reducing the consumption of alcohol as an alternative form of self-medication for depression. The findings illustrate the importance of considering the behavioural ramifications of new medication and therapy.

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