Tatyana Deryugina, Nolan Miller, David Molitor, Julian Reif, 13 January 2021

Policies aimed at reducing the harmful effects of air pollution on human health typically focus on improving air quality in polluted areas. This column suggests a shift in focus from targeting the most polluted places to serving the most vulnerable people. Basing air quality regulations on pollution levels may be less valuable than reducing air pollution in regions with vulnerable populations. Programmes that reduce poverty or improve access to health care may also lessen the recipients’ susceptibility to acute pollution exposure.

Michael Keane, 26 May 2019

Launched in 2006, Medicare Part D allows beneficiaries to enrol in subsidised drug coverage plans sold by private insurers, but navigating the different plans can be complex and lead to sub-optimal choices. This column uses Medicare administrative data for 2006-2010 to understand the quality of consumer decision-making in the Part D marketplace. It finds that the vast majority of elderly place too much weight on premiums relative to out-of-pocket costs, care a great deal about the particular combination of plan features, and are highly likely to choose the same plan every year regardless of changes in prices and alternatives.

Yi Chen, Hanming Fang, 03 October 2018

The first group of the cohorts affected by China’s ‘Later, Fewer, Longer’ campaign, which led to the rapid decline of China’s total fertility rate, are now entering their sixties. This column evaluates the long-term consequences of China’s family planning policies on the quality of life of the Chinese elderly. The results suggest that while family planning has either no effect or a slightly positive effect on elderly parents’ physical health status, parents who are more exposed to family planning policies report significantly worse mental health.

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