Health economics

Emilia Simeonova, Janet Currie, J Peter Nilsson, Reed Walker, 08 July 2018

Traffic congestion is a major problem for urban centres. Among various negative externalities, traffic creates substantial pollution which can impact the health of residents. This column explores how the implementation of a congestion pricing zone affected the health of children in Stockholm. The programme saw short-term reductions in common traffic pollutants and an accompanying decrease in children’s hospital visits for acute asthma. This decrease grew larger the longer the tax was in place. 

Ralph Koijen, Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 01 July 2018

Over the past decade, exciting breakthroughs in the field of immuno-oncology have resulted in significant gains in long-term cancer survival, but the cost of immunotherapy is often extremely high. This column argues that life insurance would become a more valuable product to consumers if it were to pay for life-enhancing medical treatment in case of a cancer diagnosis. Widespread adoption of this funding model would increase life expectancy in the population, which would in turn lower the cost of life insurance.

Leandro de la Escosura, 02 June 2018

Rising trends in GDP per capita are often interpreted as reflecting rising levels of general wellbeing. But GDP per capita is at best a crude proxy for wellbeing, neglecting important qualitative dimensions. This column explores the long-term trends in global wellbeing inequality using a new dataset. Inequality indices reflecting various aspects of wellbeing are shown to have been declining since WWI, unlike real GDP per capita inequality. 

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.

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