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How effective are public health departments at preventing mortality?

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  • Brown, Timothy Tyler

Abstract

This study estimates the causal impact of variation in the expenditures of California county departments of public health on all-cause mortality rates and the associated value of lives saved. Since the activities of county departments of public health are likely to affect mortality rates with a lag, Koyck distributed lag models are estimated using the Lewbel instrumental variables estimator. The findings show that an additional $10 per capita of public health expenditures reduces all-cause mortality by 9.1 deaths per 100,000. At current funding levels, the long-run annual number of lives saved by the presence of county departments of public health in California is estimated to be approximately 27,000 (26,937 lives, 95% confidence interval: [11,963, 41,911]). The annual value of these lives is estimated to be worth $212.8 billion using inflation-adjusted standard U.S. government estimates of the value of a statistical life ($7.9 million).

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Timothy Tyler, 2014. "How effective are public health departments at preventing mortality?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 34-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:13:y:2014:i:c:p:34-45
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.10.001
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    3. Seuring, Till & Goryakin, Yevgeniy & Suhrcke, Marc, 2015. "The impact of diabetes on employment in Mexico," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 85-100.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public health expenditures; All-cause mortality; Lewbel instrumental variables; Dynamic panel models; California;

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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