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Approaches to Estimating the Health State Dependence of the Utility Function

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Author Info

  • Finkelstein, Amy

    ()
    (MIT)

  • Luttmer, Erzo F.P.

    ()
    (Dartmouth College)

  • Notowidigdo, Matthew J.

    ()
    (MIT)

Abstract

If the marginal utility of consumption depends on health status, this will affect the economic analysis of a number of central problems in public finance, including the optimal structure of health insurance and optimal life cycle savings. In this paper, we describe the promises and challenges of various approaches to estimating the effect of health on the marginal utility of consumption. Our basic conclusion is that while none of these approaches is a panacea, many offer the potential to shed important insights on the nature of health state dependence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3925.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2009, 99(2), 116–121
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3925

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Keywords: insurance; health; state dependence; marginal utility;

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References

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  1. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2006. "Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles," 2006 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Lillard, Lee A & Weiss, Yoram, 1997. "Uncertain Health and Survival: Effects on End-of-Life Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(2), pages 254-68, April.
  3. Amy Finkelstein & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2008. "What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 14089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2005. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," NBER Working Papers 11461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  6. Edwards, Ryan D, 2008. "Health Risk and Portfolio Choice," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 472-485.
  7. Evans, William N & Viscusi, W Kip, 1991. "Estimation of State-Dependent Utility Functions Using Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 94-104, February.
  8. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
  9. Sloan, Frank A. & Kip Viscusi, W. & Chesson, Harrell W. & Conover, Christopher J. & Whetten-Goldstein, Kathryn, 1998. "Alternative approaches to valuing intangible health losses: the evidence for multiple sclerosis1," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 475-497, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bonsang Eric & Klein Tobias J., 2011. "Retirement and Subjective Well-Being," Research Memorandum 028, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  2. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley & Melanie Lührmann, 2012. "Durable Purchases over the Later Life Cycle," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1213, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  3. Thomas F. Crossley & Hamish Low & Cormac O’Dea, 2011. "Household Consumption Through Recent Recessions," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1132, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  4. Philippe De Donder & Pierre Pestieau, 2013. "Private, Social and Self-Insurance for Long-Term Care in the Presence of Family Help - A Political Economy Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4352, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Octave Jokung & Serge Macé, 2013. "Long-term health investment when people underestimate their adaptation to old age-related health problems," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 14(6), pages 1003-1013, December.
  6. Arik Levinson, 2009. "Valuing Public Goods Using Happiness Data: The Case of Air Quality," NBER Working Papers 15156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christophe Courbage & Peter Zweifel, 2011. "Two-sided intergenerational moral hazard, long-term care insurance, and nursing home use," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 65-80, August.
  8. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Happiness economics," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 35-60, March.
  9. Julien Hugonnier & Florian Pelgrin & Pascal St-Amour, 2010. "A structural analysis of the health expenditures and portfolio choices of retired agents," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 10-29, Swiss Finance Institute.
  10. van Hoorn, André & Maseland, Robbert, 2013. "Does a Protestant work ethic exist? Evidence from the well-being effect of unemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-12.
  11. Raj Chetty & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "Social Insurance: Connecting Theory to Data," NBER Working Papers 18433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. van Hoorn, André & Maseland, Robbert, 2010. "Cultural differences between East and West Germany after 1991: Communist values versus economic performance?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 791-804, December.
  13. Christophe Courbage & David Crainich, 2012. "More on the optimal demand for long-term care insurance," Working Papers 2012-ECO-17, IESEG School of Management.

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