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It'll Only Hurt a Second? Microeconomic Determinants of Who Gets Flu Shots

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  • John Mullahy

Abstract

Appreciating how propensities to be immunized against the flu depend on individual characteristics and environments is essential if policies regarding influenza control are to be sensibly formulated. Beyond epidemiology, there are some important economic issues that must be addressed if the determinants of this form of preventive care are to be comprehensively understood. One concerns the relationship between labor supply and the propensity to be immunized: While it is costly (in terms of time costs) for workers to obtain immunizations, it is also workers who are likely to have relatively most to lose from being ill with the flu. Another concern not generally appreciated is the extent to which individuals' perceived risks of infection may affect their propensities to be immunized. The analysis is based on data from the 1991 National Health Interview Survey. Immunization propensity displays the expected patterns by age and health status, while the results with respect to race, household structure, income and insurance are somewhat more surprising and/or novel. The estimated labor supply and perceived risk effects suggest that some aspects of the economics of preventive care generally not considered in empirical work are -- at least in this application -- important and merit further consideration.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6500.

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Date of creation: Apr 1998
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Publication status: published as John Mullahy, 1999. "It'll only hurt a second? Microeconomic determinants of who gets flu shots," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 9-24.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6500

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  1. White, Halbert, 1982. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Independent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 483-99, March.
  2. George J. Borjas & Glenn T. Sueyoshi, 1993. "A Two-Stage Estimator for Probit Models with Structural Group Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-51, July.
  4. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1985. "A Simultaneous Equations Linear Probability Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-37, February.
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  6. Tomas Philipson, 1996. "Private Vaccination and Public Health: An Empirical Examination for U.S. Measles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 611-630.
  7. Avner Ahituv & V. Joseph Hotz & Tomas Philipson, 1996. "The Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Local Prevalence of AIDS," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 869-897.
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Cited by:
  1. Cinzia Di Novi, 2011. "Quality and Reputation: The Indirect Effect of Fine Particulate Matter on Health through Individuals' Life-style," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia dell'Impresa e del Lavoro ieil0062, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  2. Carman, Katherine Grace & Kooreman, Peter, 2011. "Flu Shots, Mammograms, and the Perception of Probabilities," IZA Discussion Papers 5739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Tsutsui, Yoshiro & Benzion, Uri & Shahrabani, Shosh, 2012. "Economic and behavioral factors in an individual's decision to take the influenza vaccination in Japan," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 594-602.
  4. Cinzia Di Novi, 2011. "The Indirect Effect of Fine Particulate Matter on Health through Individuals' Life-style," DEP - series of economic working papers 1/2011, University of Genoa, Research Doctorate in Public Economics.
  5. Ciro Avitabile & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2008. "Screening Tests, Information, and the Health-Education Gradient," CSEF Working Papers 187, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 28 Apr 2008.
  6. Jürgen Maurer, 2008. "Who has a clue to preventing the flu? Unravelling supply and demand effects on the take-up of influenza vaccinations," MEA discussion paper series 08170, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  7. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2008. "Days of Haze: Environmental Information Disclosure and Intertemporal Avoidance Behavior," NBER Working Papers 14271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rochelle Belkar & Denzil G. Fiebig & Marion Haas & Rosalie Viney, 2006. "Why worry about awareness in choice problems? Econometric analysis of screening for cervical cancer," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 33-47.
  9. Slade, Alexander N., 2012. "Health investment decisions in response to diabetes information in older Americans," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 502-520.
  10. Chen, Keith & Lange, Fabian, 2008. "Education, Information, and Improved Health: Evidence from Breast Cancer Screening," IZA Discussion Papers 3548, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Courtney J. Ward, 2014. "Influenza Vaccination Campaigns: Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 38-72, January.
  12. Meliyanni Johar & Denzil Fiebig & Marion Haas & Rosalie Viney, 2009. "Evaluating changes in women's attitudes towards cervical screening following a screening promotion campaign and a free vaccination program. CHERE Working Paper 2009/3," Working Papers 2009/3, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
  13. Joseph Cook & Marc Jeuland & Brian Maskery & Donald Lauria & Dipika Sur & John Clemens & Dale Whittington, 2009. "Using private demand studies to calculate socially optimal vaccine subsidies in developing countries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 6-28.
  14. repec:idb:brikps:53778 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Matthew J. Neidell, 2008. "Information, Avoidance Behavior, and Health: The Effect of Ozone on Asthma Hospitalizations," NBER Working Papers 14209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kondo, Masahide & Hoshi, Shu-ling & Okubo, Ichiro, 2009. "Does subsidy work? Price elasticity of demand for influenza vaccination among the elderly in Japan," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 269-276, August.
  17. Stephen T. Parente & David Salkever & Joan DaVanzo, 2003. "The Role of Consumer Knowledge of Insurance Benefits in the Demand for Preventative Health," NBER Working Papers 9912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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