Economists have traditionally viewed healthcare as a luxury good – consumption of it will increase more than proportionally as income rises. This column challenges this view, exploiting the windfall of lottery winnings to estimate elasticities for healthcare demand in the UK. Results suggest that income elasticities for public healthcare services are close to zero. A medium to large windfall is found instead to increase the uptake of private health insurance and preventative services. This suggests that rising incomes will increase private sector demand, but will leave public healthcare demand unchanged.
Terence Cheng, Joan Costa-i-Font, Nattavudh Powdthavee, Friday, July 31, 2015 - 00:00
Rena M. Conti, Ernst Berndt, David H. Howard, Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 00:00
Iain M. Cockburn, Jean O. Lanjouw, Mark Schankerman, Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 00:00
Charles A.E. Goodhart, Philipp Erfurth, Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 00:00
Charles F Manski, Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 00:00
Daniel Bennett, Wes Yin, Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 00:00
Many drugs sold in poor countries are counterfeit or substandard, endangering patients’ health and fostering drug resistance. Since drug quality is difficult to observe, pharmacies in weakly regulated markets may have little incentive to improve quality. However, larger markets allow firms to reorganise production and invest in technologies that reduce the marginal cost of quality. This column discusses how the entry of a new pharmacy chain in India led incumbents to both cut prices and raise drug quality.
Joan Costa-i-Font, Alistair McGuire, Nebibe Varol, Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 00:00
Generic medicines are cheaper than their branded counterparts, offering potential savings in healthcare budgets. Medicine-price regulation plays an important role in the expansion of the market for generic medicines. This column presents new evidence that higher levels of price regulation, by lowering the expected price to generic manufacturers, lead (ceteris paribus) to greater delays in generic entry.
Jeffrey Frankel, Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 00:00
Market-based mechanisms such as cap-and-trade can tackle externality problems more efficiently than command-and-control regulations. However, politicians in the US and Europe have retreated from cap-and-trade in recent years. This column draws a parallel between Republicans’ abandonment of market-based environmental regulation and their recent disavowal of mandatory health insurance. The author argues that in practice, the alternative to market-based regulation is not an absence of regulation, but rather the return of inefficient mandates and subsidies.
Zack Cooper, Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 00:00
With over 40 million Americans uninsured and the costs of care at an all time high, healthcare has become a major issue in this year’s presidential race. This column evaluates the ramifications of both candidates’ respective policies.
Joan Costa-i-Font, Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 00:00
National healthcare systems are under financial pressure around the globe. One commonly suggested reform involves decentralisation. This column argues that the success of healthcare decentralisation depends on the political and design incentives. But if successful decentralisation is achieved, it can result in higher satisfaction and more fairness at no additional cost.
Stefan Dercon, Albert Park, Abhijeet Singh, Monday, June 25, 2012 - 00:00
Despite the popularity of school meals, little evidence exists on their effect on health outcomes. This study investigates whether the school meals program in Andhra Pradesh, India, ameliorated the deterioration of health in young children caused by a severe drought.
Peter Diamond, Friday, September 2, 2011 - 00:00
Nobel laureate Peter Diamond of MIT talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about of the impact of improved longevity and the resulting demographic change on the retirement and healthcare systems of the advanced economies. The interview was recorded in August 2011 at the Fourth Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences, which brought together 17 of the 38 living economics laureates with nearly 400 top young economists from around the world. [Also read the transcript]
Timothy J Hatton, Friday, August 5, 2011 - 00:00
The last century has seen dramatic improvements in the health of Europeans. Young adult males are about 11 centimetres taller than their counterparts were a century ago. This column examines and explains the remarkable long-run trends in the average height of Europeans.
Lucian Cernat, Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 00:00
Malaria is still a public-health nightmare in many African countries. This column argues for greater coherence between trade, foreign investment, and other malaria-related policy initiatives. In particular, technical assistance should prioritise the removal of "killer tariffs" on mosquito nets.
Amanda Goodall, Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 00:00
Are hospitals better run by former doctors or by specialist managers? This column looks at the top-ranking hospitals in the US and finds that hospital-quality scores are about 25% higher in physician-run hospitals than in the average hospital.
James Banks, Zoë Oldfield, James P Smith, Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 00:00
How much of our health in adulthood and old age is determined by our childhood? Using decades of data from the US and England, this column shows that the US excess in disease is common throughout the age distribution of the population. Moreover, poor childhood health tends to worsen adult health more in the US.
Joan Costa-i-Font, Nebibe Varol, Alistair McGuire, Friday, July 8, 2011 - 00:00
Pharmaceutical price regulations make drugs more accessible to consumers – if the products are brought to market. This column explores how price regulation affects the diffusion of pharmaceutical treatments. It finds that more regulated, lower-price markets experience the longest delays in launching new medications.
Anupam B Jena, Jonathan S Skinner, Amitabh Chandra, Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 00:00
How much healthcare to provide and how to pay for it are two questions at the heart of the public sector. This column argues that by using comparative effectiveness research, policymakers can better understand those healthcare initiatives that work and those that do not. In doing so, the research can give rise to the often-cited but rarely-seen efficiency gains.
Friedrich Breyer, Stefan Felder, Joan Costa-i-Font, Saturday, May 14, 2011 - 00:00
Over the last half century, life expectancy in the industrialised world has risen dramatically – and so has the healthcare bill. Is population ageing the main reason? This column argues that while ageing does affect health spending, it is far less important than many think. It adds that obsession with an ageing population is a dangerous red herring that prevents dealing with the real culprits of rising costs.
Carol Propper, Friday, February 11, 2011 - 00:00
Britain’s coalition government is proposing significant healthcare reforms, which include promoting greater competition between providers and changing the way that care is commissioned. Carol Propper of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the evidence for some of the claims and counterclaims about the likely impact of the reforms. The interview was recorded at the University of Bristol in February 2011.<i> [Also read the transcript] </i>