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Why Economics is good for your health - 2004 Royal Economic Society Public Lecture

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  • Carol Propper

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Abstract

In this paper, I examine the contribution that economics can make to our understanding of key issues in health and health care. In the first part of the paper, I argue that economics can bring valuable insights into the world of over-eating and present recent economic theories that argue that the root cause of the increase in obesity lies in technological change. Technological change, in terms of the kind of work we do, the agricultural production revolution and the major cost reductions in food processing and distribution have all contributed to weight gain. This hypothesis is illustrated by data from the USA. In the second part, I argue that understanding incentives is the key to understanding the behaviour of suppliers of health care, explaining for example, why health staff 'fiddle the figures' to meet government targets and why doctors will respond to financial payments.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp116.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 05/116.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:05/116

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Web page: http://www.bris.ac.uk/cmpo/
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Keywords: health; economics; healthcare; obesity; incentives;

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References

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  1. Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2003. "The Use and Usefulness of Performance Measures in the Public Sector," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/073, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Mark Dusheiko & Hugh Gravelle & Rowena Jacobs, 2004. "The effect of practice budgets on patient waiting times: allowing for selection bias," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(10), pages 941-958.
  3. repec:rus:hseeco:122160 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Scott, Anthony, 2000. "Economics of general practice," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1175-1200 Elsevier.
  6. Propper, Carol, 1995. "Agency and incentives in the NHS internal market," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 1683-1690, June.
  7. Sloan, Frank A., 2000. "Not-for-profit ownership and hospital behavior," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1141-1174 Elsevier.
  8. Croxson, Bronwyn & Propper, Carol & Shearer, Arran, 2000. "Waiting Times for Hospital Admissions: the Impact of GP Fundholding," CEPR Discussion Papers 2489, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dranove, David & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 2000. "The industrial organization of health care markets," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 20, pages 1093-1139 Elsevier.
  11. Frank J. Chaloupka & Kenneth E. Warner, 1999. "The Economics of Smoking," NBER Working Papers 7047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Propper, Carol & Burgess, Simon & Green, Katherine, 2004. "Does competition between hospitals improve the quality of care?: Hospital death rates and the NHS internal market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1247-1272, July.
  14. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1999. "The Long-Run Growth in Obesity as a Function of Technological Change," Working Papers 9912, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  15. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Martin Gaynor & William B. Vogt, . "Antitrust and Competition in Health Care Markets," GSIA Working Papers 1999-E29, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  17. Croxson, B. & Propper, C. & Perkins, A., 2001. "Do doctors respond to financial incentives? UK family doctors and the GP fundholder scheme," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 375-398, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ljungvall , Åsa & Gerdtham , Ulf-G, 2009. "More equal but heavier: A longitudinal analysis of income-related obesity inequalities in an adult Swedish cohort," Working Papers 2009:3, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  2. Vincenzo Atella & Joanna Kopinska, 2011. "Body weight of Italians: the weight of Education," CEIS Research Paper 189, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 23 Mar 2011.
  3. Pieroni, L. & Salmasi, L., 2014. "Fast-food consumption and body weight. Evidence from the UK," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-105.

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