Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Value of Life Near its End and Terminal Care

Contents:

Author Info

  • Gary Becker
  • Kevin Murphy
  • Tomas Philipson

Abstract

Medical care at the end of life, which is often is estimated to contribute up to a quarter of US health care spending, often encounters skepticism from payers and policy makers who question its high cost and often minimal health benefits. It seems generally agreed upon that medical resources are being wasted on excessive care for end-of-life treatments that often only prolong minimally an already frail life. However, though many observers have claimed that such spending is often irrational and wasteful, little explicit and systematic analysis exists on the incentives that determine end of life health care spending. There exists no positive theory that attempts to explain the high degree of end-of life spending and why differences across individuals, populations, or time occur in such spending. This paper attempts to provide the first rational and systematic analysis of the incentives behind end of life care. The main argument we make is that existing estimates of the value of a life year do not apply to the valuation of life at the end of life. We stress the low opportunity cost of medical spending near ones death, the importance of keeping hope alive in a terminal care setting, the larger social value of a life than estimated in private demand settings, as well as the insignificance in quality of life in lowering its value. We derive how an ex-ante perspective in terms of insurance and R&D alters some of these conclusions.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13333.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13333.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13333

Note: HC HE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Alan M. Garber, 1999. "Advances in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Health Interventions," NBER Working Papers 7198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hausman, Jerry, 2000. "Efficiency Effects on the U.S. Economy from Wireless Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 733-42, September.
  3. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-64, November.
  4. David Meltzer, 1997. "Accounting for Future Costs in Medical Cost-Effectiveness Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Weinstein, Milton C. & Manning, Willard Jr., 1997. "Theoretical issues in cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 121-128, February.
  6. Tomas J. Philipson & Gary S. Becker, 1998. "Old-Age Longevity and Mortality-Contingent Claims," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 551-573, June.
  7. Johannesson, Magnus & Weinstein, Milton C., 1993. "On the decision rules of cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 459-467, December.
  8. Meltzer, David, 1997. "Accounting for future costs in medical cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 33-64, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Moscone, Francesco & Tosetti, Elisa & Costantini, Marco & Ali, Maged, 2013. "The impact of scientific research on health care: Evidence from the OECD countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 325-332.
  2. Puig-Junoy, Jaume & López-Valcárcel, Beatriz González, 2014. "Launch prices for new pharmaceuticals in the heavily regulated and subsidized Spanish market, 1995–2007," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 170-181.
  3. Lakdawalla, Darius N. & Sun, Eric C. & Jena, Anupam B. & Reyes, Carolina M. & Goldman, Dana P. & Philipson, Tomas J., 2010. "An economic evaluation of the war on cancer," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 333-346, May.
  4. Dormont, Brigitte, 2009. "Les dépenses de santé : une augmentation salutaire ?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/3883, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. David M. Cutler, 2008. "Are We Finally Winning the War on Cancer?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  6. Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan & Oeppen, Jim, 2010. "Recognizing progeny in the value of life," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 17-21, April.
  7. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas J. Philipson & Wesley Yin, 2010. "Valuing health technologies at nice: recommendations for improved incorporation of treatment value in HTA," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(10), pages 1109-1116.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13333. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.