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Socioeconomic Differences in the Adoption of New Medical Technologies

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  • Dana Goldman
  • James P. Smith

Abstract

New medical technologies hold tremendous promise for improving population health, but they also raise concerns about exacerbating already large differences in health by socioeconomic status (SES). If effective treatments are more rapidly adopted by the better educated, SES health disparities may initially expand even though the health of those in all groups eventually improves. Hypertension provides a useful case study. It is an important risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, the condition is relatively common, and there are large differences in rates of hypertension by education. This paper examines the short and long-term diffusion of two important classes of anti-hypertensives - ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers - over the last twenty-five years. Using three prominent medical surveys, we find no evidence that the diffusion of these drugs into medical practice favored one education group relative to another. The findings suggest that - at least for hypertension - SES differences in the adoption of new medical technologies are not an important reason for the SES health gradient.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11218.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Publication status: published as Goldman, Dana and James P. Smith. "Socioeconomic Differences In The Adoption Of New Medical Technologies," American Economic Review, 2005, v95(2,May), 234-237.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11218

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  1. James P. Smith, 2005. "Unraveling the SES-Health Connection," Labor and Demography 0505018, EconWPA.
  2. Dana P. Goldman & James P. Smith, 2004. "Can Patient Self-Management Help Explain the SES Health Gradient?," HEW 0403004, EconWPA.
  3. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Jürgen Maurer, 2007. "Assessing Horizontal Equity in Medication Treatment Among Elderly Mexicans: Which Socioeconomic Determinants Matter Most?," MEA discussion paper series 07143, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  2. Lambrelli D & O’Donnell O, 2009. "Why Does the Utilization of Pharmaceuticals Vary So Much Across Europe? Evidence from Micro Data on Older Europeans," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 09/06, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Sansani, Shahar, 2009. "The Effects of School Quality on Long-Term Health," MPRA Paper 22189, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Apr 2010.
  4. Binswanger, J. & Carman, K.G., 2011. "The Role of Desicion Making Processes in the Correlation between Wealth and Health," Discussion Paper 2011-005, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. James P. Smith, 2009. "Comment on "Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 442-446 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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