Health investment complementarities under competing risks
AbstractApplying the competing--risks model to multi--cause mortality, this paper provides a theoretical and empirical investigation of the positive complementarities that occur between disease--specific policy interventions. We argue that since an individual cannot die twice, competing risks imply that individuals will not waste resources on causes that are not the most immediate, but will make health investments so as to equalize cause--specific mortality. However, equal mortality risk from a variety of diseases does not imply that disease--specific public health interventions are a waste. Rather, a cause--specific intervention produces spillovers to other disease risks, so that the overall reduction in mortality will generally be larger than the direct effect measured on the targeted disease. The assumption that mortality from non--targeted diseases remains the same after a cause--specific intervention under--estimates the true effect of such programs, since the background mortality is also altered as a result of intervention. Analyzing data from one of the most important public health programs ever introduced, the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) of the United Nations, we find evidence for the existence of such complementarities, involving causes that are not biomedically, but behaviorally, linked.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 192.
Date of creation: Jan 1997
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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/
Complementarities tetanus programs; endogenous mortality; public health;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-1998-09-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-HEA-1998-09-14 (Health Economics)
- NEP-PUB-1998-09-14 (Public Finance)
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