A major aim of cigarette taxes and tobacco control policies is to encourage smokers to quit. It is therefore important to understand the dynamics of quitting decisions in two-smoker couples. This column uses Dutch data to examine whether spousal peer effects exist for smoking cessation decisions. After controlling for the fact that couples are more likely to be similar to begin with, no evidence is found of one partner’s decision to quit affecting their spouse’s decision.
Jan van Ours, Ali Palali, Friday, October 16, 2015 - 00:00
Leandro Prados de la Escosura, Sunday, July 26, 2015 - 00:00
How does Latin American well-being compare to the advanced nations? This column presents a new historical index of human development that allows for analyses of trends in Latin American development since 1870. The results unearth a number of puzzles that pit rising income against flagging developments in well-being.
Anne Case, Angus Deaton, Saturday, July 18, 2015 - 00:00
High suicide rates are often cited as evidence of social failure. Despite this, some countries and regions that do very well in terms of happiness have among the highest suicide rates. This column explores this paradox using global data on suicide and self-reported life satisfaction. Although the paradox is confirmed for Eastern European and wealthy countries, inconsistent patterns emerge when other demographic factors are taken into account. This might reflect the empirical difficulty of explaining suicide, but might also be indicative of the unreliability of self-reports of happiness.
Matthew E. Kahn, Cong Sun, Siqi Zheng, Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 00:00
China’s cities suffer from extremely high levels of air pollution, and Chinese consumers spend more than $US100 million on anti-smog products per year. Using recent internet sales data, this column explores how investing in such self-protection products varies for consumers with different income brackets. The urban poor are shown to be less likely to engage in this health-improving strategy. This suggests that cross-sectional income comparisons understate lifetime inequality.
Áureo de Paula, John Lynham, Timothy Halliday, Monday, June 22, 2015 - 00:00
For policy to target air pollution optimally, a thorough understanding of its harms is required. However, disentangling the health effects of specific pollutants has proved challenging, as multiple chemicals tend to co-occur in industrial pollution. This column exploits volcanic emissions in Hawaii to examine the health impact of a specific pollutant – airborne particulates. Short-term exposure to particulate pollution is found to increase pulmonary-related hospitalisations and expenditures, particularly among very young children.
Dora L. Costa, Matthew E. Kahn, Monday, April 27, 2015 - 00:00
Newspapers report good and bad news, but the reporting doesn’t always match reality. This column presents evidence from turn-of-the-century America that news reports of typhoid tracked mortality patterns, but the reporting was biased. Spikes in death rates led to bigger jumps in media coverage when death rates were low. This could be due to the idea that deviations from Kahneman and Tversky’s ‘reference points’ are more newsworthy, or due to the possibility that bad news is more valuable to readers when things seem to be going well.
Rena M. Conti, Ernst Berndt, David H. Howard, Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 00:00
Nezih Guner, Yuliya Kulikova, Joan Llull, Monday, January 19, 2015 - 00:00
Lucia Corno, Áureo de Paula, Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 00:00
Richard Dobbs, Corinne Sawers, Saturday, December 13, 2014 - 00:00
Antonio Cabrales, Juan Dolado, Ricardo Mora, Friday, December 5, 2014 - 00:00
Amir Attaran, Roger Bate, Ginger Zhe Jin, Aparna Mathur, Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 00:00
Charles F Manski, Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 00:00
Sandra E. Black, Paul Devereux, Kjell G. Salvanes, Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 00:00
Adverse health or nutrition shocks to pregnant women can have significant and often long-lasting effects on the outcomes of their children, but much less is known about the effects of psychological stresses. This column discusses recent research on the effect of stress induced by the death of a parent while pregnant on the short- and long-run outcomes of children in Norway. Maternal bereavement has small but statistically significant adverse effects on birth outcomes – especially for boys – but there is no evidence of any long-run adverse effects.
Brandon Restrepo, Matthias Rieger, Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 00:00
Artificial trans fat is omnipresent in the global food chain, but the medical consensus is that it increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Between 2007 and 2011, New York City and six other county health departments implemented bans on trans fat in restaurants. This column presents the first evaluation of the effect of these bans on cardiovascular disease mortality rates.
Holger Görg, Olivier N. Godart, Aoife Hanley, Christiane Krieger-Boden, Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 00:00
Many firms are replacing traditional working hours with more flexible arrangements, reflecting new thinking on employee motivation. This column presents evidence from Germany that trust-based working time is associated with increased innovation. However, trust-based working hours also contribute to the blurring of workers’ professional and private lives, and may lead to excessive overtime. Careful design of trust-based working arrangements is required to reap the innovations gains while avoiding the health pitfalls.
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.
Angus Deaton, Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 00:00
The world has become healthier and wealthier since 1960, as measured by life expectancy and GDP per capita. In this column Angus Deaton introduces his new book and argues that the world is indeed a better place than it used to be, albeit with big setbacks, and that progress opens up vast inequalities.
Joan Costa-i-Font, Alistair McGuire, Victoria Serra-Sastre, Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 00:00
Although healthcare innovation can make treatment cheaper, it can also make policy decisions more difficult by introducing new, better but more expensive technologies. This column argues that, unlike other technologies, healthcare technology is intermediated by insurance mechanisms, both private and public. Although health insurance coverage incentivises expenditure on innovation, it does not seem to heighten technology adoption, a challenge to the idea that innovation increases healthcare costs. Indeed, evidence suggests that technology diffusion is limited by other institutional barriers.
Marty Gaynor, Carol Propper, Stephan Seiler, Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 00:00
Greater choice and competition in healthcare is a popular reform model. This column discusses recent research suggesting that once restrictions on choice in the UK’s NHS were lifted, patients receiving cardiac surgery became more responsive to the quality of their care. This saved lives and gave hospitals a greater incentive to improve quality.