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On the dynamics of health capital accumulation

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  • McCarthy, Robert

Abstract

This paper presents a key model from the economics literature that has been adjusted and reinterpreted as a simple, formal, quantitative tool for formalising the inputs and outputs involved in personal health regimes undertaken to accumulate Grossman's health capital. Implications of the model fit with commonsensical clinical results. We find that higher variance of previous health capital increases leads to higher "good health" needed before health regimes are undertaken permanently. Conversely, the higher the target amount of health capital the lower the health capital "trigger" level for instigating the regime. Indeed, we find that the higher an individuals motivation is, as measured by a personal discount rate, the lower this personal "trigger" health capital level is. It is theorised that such a model can be used as a clinical application, whereby a patient's personal health history can generate the "motivation" and instigate health capital levels in a quantitative, as opposed to qualitative manner. Further implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • McCarthy, Robert, 2006. "On the dynamics of health capital accumulation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 817-828, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:63:y:2006:i:3:p:817-828
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    6. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-157, April.
    7. McDonald, Robert L & Siegel, Daniel R, 1985. "Investment and the Valuation of Firms When There Is an Option to Shut Down," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 331-349, June.
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