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Going from bad to worse: Adaptation to poor health health spending, longevity, and the value of life

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  • Schünemann, Johannes
  • Strulik, Holger
  • Trimborn, Timo

Abstract

Unhealthy people adapt to their poor state of health and are usually happier than expected by healthy people. In this paper, we investigate how adapting to a deteriorating state of health affects health spending, life expectancy, and the value of life. We set up a life-cycle model in which individuals are subject to physiological aging, calibrate it with data from gerontology, and compare behavior and outcomes of adapting and non-adapting individuals. While adaptation generally increases lifetime utility (by about 2 percent), its impact on health behavior and longevity depends crucially on whether individuals are aware of their adaptive behavior, i.e. whether they adapt in a naive or sophisticated way. We also compute the QALY change implied by health shocks and discuss whether and how adaptation influences results and the desirability of positive health innovations.

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  • Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "Going from bad to worse: Adaptation to poor health health spending, longevity, and the value of life," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 130-146.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:130-146
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.02.018
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    Cited by:

    1. Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "The gender gap in mortality: How much is explained by behavior?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 79-90.
    2. Trimborn, Timo & Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger, 2016. "Disentangling the Gender Gap in Longevity," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145570, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2016. "Hyperbolic discounting can be good for your health," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 11/2016, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    4. Böhm, Sebastian & Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "R&D-driven medical progess, health care costs, and the future of human longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 325, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Böhm, Sebastian & Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "The Future of Human Health, Longevity, and Health Costs," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168288, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Strulik, Holger, 2017. "Smoking kills: An economic theory of addiction, health deficit accumulation, and longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 316, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "The marriage gap: Optimal aging and death in partnerships," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 04/2017, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    8. Strulik, Holger, 2018. "An economic heory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 337, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Adaption; Aging; Longevity; Health care demand; Value of life; QALYs;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income

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