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Disease Complementarities and the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions

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  • William H. Dow
  • Jessica Holmes
  • Tomas Philipson
  • Xavier Sala-i-Martin

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical and empirical investigation of the positive complementarities between disease-specific policies introduced by competing risks of mortality. The incentive to invest in prevention against one cause of death depends positively on the level of survival from other causes. This means that a specific public health intervention has benefits other than the direct medical reduction in mortality: it affects the incentives to fight other diseases so the overall reduction in mortality will, in general, be larger than that predicted by the direct medical effects. We discuss evidence of these cross-disease effects by using data on neo-natal tetanus vaccination through the Expanded Programme on Immunization of the World Health Organization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5216.

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Date of creation: Aug 1995
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, Vol. 89, no. 5 (December 1999): 1357-1372.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5216

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  1. Sherwin Rosen, . "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  2. Arthur, W B, 1981. "The Economics of Risks to Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 54-64, March.
  3. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
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Cited by:
  1. David M. Cutler & Grant Miller, 2004. "The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances: The 20th Century United States," NBER Working Papers 10511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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