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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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Suggested Citation

  • Dana Goldman & James P. Smith, 2005. "Socioeconomic Differences in the Adoption of New Medical Technologies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 234-237, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:2:p:234-237
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282805774669907
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Smith, 2004. "Unravelling the SES health connection," IFS Working Papers W04/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Schnittker, Jason & Karandinos, George, 2010. "Methuselah's medicine: Pharmaceutical innovation and mortality in the United States, 1960-2000," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 961-968, April.
    2. Anderberg, Dan & Chevalier, Arnaud & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2011. "Anatomy of a health scare: Education, income and the MMR controversy in the UK," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 515-530, May.
    3. Jürgen Maurer, 2008. "Assessing horizontal equity in medication treatment among elderly Mexicans: which socioeconomic determinants matter most?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(10), pages 1153-1169.
    4. Huerta, Maria C. & Borgonovi, Francesca, 2010. "Education, alcohol use and abuse among young adults in Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 143-151, July.
    5. 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.
    6. Sansani, Shahar, 2011. "The effects of school quality on long-term health," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1320-1333.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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