Category Archives: Health economics

Talking Sin

My Wryside Economics segment on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program yesterday was on sin taxes. If you’re curious to catch up on it, you can listen to it here.

Posted in Health economics, Tax

A tired old story

My op-ed today is on the economics of sleep. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Health economics, Labour Economics | 1 Comment

Mexican antipoverty program might work in the US too

Don Arthur alerts me to a new report from MDRC (the organisation that administers many of the US randomised trials) on Opportunity NYC, a conditional cash transfer program in New York city that’s based loosely on the Mexican Progresa/Oportunidades program. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family, Health economics | 1 Comment

What’s the impact of raising the drinking age to 21?

I’m distracted by other things today, but couldn’t resist the PM’s call for evidence on the costs and benefits of raising the Australian minimum drinking age from 18 to 21. Here are 3 possibly relevant economics papers. Does the Minimum … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 1 Comment

Look at the changes, not at the levels

A few people have asked me recently for my view on “The Spirit Level” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, which is apparently having some impact in policy circles. John Kay’s view in the FT comes closest to my own: … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Health economics, Inequality, Macroeconomics | 9 Comments

Sprawling Waistlines

When your city spreads out, so does your paunch – at least according to new work from the NBER stable. Their IV strategy seems credible, suggesting that the relationship is probably causal. Effects of Urban Sprawl on Obesity (unstable ungated, … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Urban Economics | 2 Comments

Of E-tags and I-health

While work by Amy Finkelstein shows that electronic tolling leads to higher prices (because drivers are less price-responsive), a more recent paper shows that there’s an upside for those who live near the highway. Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family, Health economics

Conference on Intergenerational Mobility

On Monday 30 November, I’m running a conference at ANU on ‘The Economics of Intergenerational Mobility’. This is an area I’ve been interested in since 2007, when I wrote what I’m pretty sure was the first paper estimating the intergenerational … Continue reading

Posted in Development Economics, Econometrics, Economics of Education, Economics of the Family, Health economics, Inequality, Labour Economics, Tax

Journalism by the Numbers

It’s terrific to see journalists doing investigative work to dig out interesting numbers. Two recent examples. On the weekend, Michael Duffy (not, not that one) estimated for the SMH that Australian drug prohibition costs A$4.7 billion annually. Although it’s in … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Labour Economics, Law | 5 Comments

Dealing With Age Inflation

My op-ed today proposes a systematic fix to the lobbyist-laden bunfight that seems to accompany every proposal to change a statutory age limit. I argue that we should index legislated ages to longevity improvements. Full text below.

Posted in Health economics, Tax | 6 Comments

Too busy to stop for a bite

Reading this while eating lunch? You’re not alone… Grazing, Goods and Girth: Determinants and Effects (gated, sorry)  Daniel S. Hamermesh Using the 2006-07 American Time Use Survey and its Eating and Health Module, I show that over half of adult … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics

Dietonomics

My oped today was on the economics of dieting. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Health economics | 5 Comments

Say aaargh

I’ve always been interested in the dentists’ decision to support water fluoridation – one of the few examples of medicos campaigning for a policy change that really hurt their economic interests (unlike, for example, the Australian Medical Association, which among … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Labour Economics | 2 Comments

Was there an original Hawthorne effect?

…apparently not, if Levitt & List are to be believed. The abstract: Was there Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments (gated-sorry) Steven Levitt & John List The “Hawthorne effect,” a concept … Continue reading

Posted in Econometrics, Health economics

A Better Crystal Ball

My oped today is on prediction markets. You can’t put acknowledgements on opeds, but if you could, this one would have read “Thanks to Nicholas Gruen and Robin Hanson for valuable comments on an earlier draft.” Not sure what my … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Macroeconomics, Prediction Markets | 6 Comments

Healthy living in hard times

My oped today is on the impact of a downturn on health. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Health economics | 1 Comment

Stressed Out on Struggle Street

From this week’s Economist, some evidence that stress might help explain intergenerational cycles of poverty. The crucial breakthrough was made three years ago, when Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania showed that the working memories of children who have … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Inequality | 6 Comments

Correlation, causation, and breastfeeding

An interesting piece in the Atlantic on breastfeeding. Here’s a snippet: One day, while nursing my baby in my pediatrician’s office, I noticed a 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association open to an article about breast-feeding: … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 3 Comments

Supporting Adam & Steve Might be a Healthy Decision

Gay marriage is typically debated as a moral issue – but it might also have public health implications. A clever paper by Thomas Dee (forthcoming in the Economic Journal) suggests that countries which permit gay marriage could improve public health. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family, Health economics | 2 Comments

If it were done, then 'twere well it were done quickly

According to today’s press, the Baby Bonus is about to be means-tested: But yesterday Mr Rudd began the speculation the baby bonus and other forms of so-called middle-class welfare would be means-tested in the budget. “I say people at the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family, Health economics | 3 Comments

Australians just say no

Harry Clarke, the only economist in the country who consistently blogs on drugs (sorry Harry, couldn’t resist) posts on Australian drug use trends. It’s a fascinating read. Frankly, I’m a little surprised that usage of most drugs seems to be … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 7 Comments

First Author Conditions

The latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) carries some extraordinary stories of drug companies writing research papers, and then offering to add academics as coauthors – without requiring the academics to do any work on … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Universities | 1 Comment

After Midnight

My wife is American,  and we’ve often commented that we’re glad that she could give birth in Australia (where 1-week hospital stays are quite common) rather than the US (where the norm is more like 2-3 days). But a new NBER … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 6 Comments

Smile!

Another reason why fluoridation is good for you, and why women who grew up in Queensland might earn lower wages. The Economic Value of Teeth by Sherry Glied, Matthew Neidell Healthy teeth are a vital and visible component of general … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 2 Comments

Birth Pangs

It seems to be my week for being in the firing line. Below the fold is an article from the Launceston Sunday Examiner by Fran Voss. Yet again, my coauthor (in this case, Joshua Gans) seemed to dodge the bullet.

Posted in Economics of the Family, Health economics | 6 Comments

Out with the bath water

Joshua Gans blogs about precisely how we should abolish the baby bonus. I concur.

Posted in Health economics | 1 Comment

Healthy and Wise

My AFR oped today argues that governments should make more information publicly available on how hospitals (and perhaps doctors) perform. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Health economics | 8 Comments

Poor Kids, Poor Health?

One of the more important debates in health economics at present is over the so-called “income gradient” in children’s health, and whether it’s flatter in the UK than in the US. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Inequality | 3 Comments

How much is that pack of cigarettes going to cost you?

Some new calculations suggest that the answer could be more than you think. The Mortality Cost to Smokers W. Kip Viscusi, Joni Hersch This article estimates the mortality cost of smoking based on the first labor market estimates of the … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 3 Comments

Should teens drink?

I’d always been somewhat agnostic about the right drinking age – but now Jeff Miron (libertarian and ex-blogger) and Elina Tetelbaum have suggested that perhaps Australia’s 18 is better than the US’s 21. Does the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives? Jeffrey A. Miron … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 9 Comments