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Value of life and behavior toward health risks: an interpretation of social capital

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  • Sherman Folland

    (Department of Economics, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309, USA)

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    Abstract

    An individual assessing a risky job can be understood as a public good. He and each of his valued relationships place a demand for the preservation of his life and health for which he accepts a responsibility to preserve. Additional demands generally do not deplete his capacity for beneficial relationships, hence, they are nonrival. It follows that the more extensive are his relationships the greater is his social capital. Although a common metric to compare and aggregate such relationships is not practical, the paper demonstrates that the common social capital indicators can yield qualitative predictions on changes in risky behaviors in the context of conventional value of life models familiar within health economics. The individual will change his behavior toward risk upon experiencing an exogenous change in his social capital: when he marries, has children, acquires friends, or experiences a more socially active community. The empirical sections of the paper show this prediction to conform well to prior studies of micro data as well as to original empirical analysis of aggregate data. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1022
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 159-171

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:2:p:159-171

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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    Cited by:
    1. Giacomo Degli Antoni & Fabio Sabatini, 2013. "Disentangling the relationship between nonprofit and social capital: the role of social cooperatives and social welfare associations in the development of networks of strong and weak ties," Econometica Working Papers, Econometica wp48, Econometica.
    2. Folland, Sherman & Islam, Muhammad Quamrul & Kaarbøe, Oddvar Martin, 2012. "The Social Capital and Health Hypothesis: A Theory and New Empirics Featuring the Norwegian HUNT Data," Working Papers in Economics, University of Bergen, Department of Economics 04/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    3. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2006. "Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers' Criminal Activity," NBER Working Papers 12754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "Differences in the effect of social capital on health status between workers and non-workers," MPRA Paper 29536, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Nauenberg, Eric & Laporte, Audrey & Shen, Leilei, 2011. "Social capital, community size and utilization of health services: A lagged analysis," Health Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 38-46.

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