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Income and the Use of Prescription Drugs by the Elderly: Evidence from the Notch Cohorts

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  • John R. Moran
  • JKosali Ilayperuma Simon

Abstract

We use exogenous variation in Social Security payments created by the Social Security benefits notch to estimate how retirees’ use of prescription medications responds to changes in their incomes. Using data from the 1993 Wave of the AHEAD, we obtain instrumental variables estimates of the income elasticity of prescription drug use that are uniformly above one, with a middle estimate of 1.32. Simulations based on our estimates suggest that reductions in Social Security benefits similar to those incorporated in recent reform proposals would significantly reduce prescription drug use among the elderly.

Suggested Citation

  • John R. Moran & JKosali Ilayperuma Simon, 2006. "Income and the Use of Prescription Drugs by the Elderly: Evidence from the Notch Cohorts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:41:y:2006:i:2:p411-432
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zhou Yang & Donna B. Gilleskie & Edward C. Norton, 2004. "Prescription Drugs, Medical Care, and Health Outcomes: A Model of Elderly Health Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 10964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber & Cynthia D. Perry, 2005. "Social Security and Elderly Living Arrangements: Evidence from the Social Security Notch," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    3. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-685, May.
    4. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
    5. Biggs, Andrew G. & Brown, Jeffrey R. & Springstead, Glenn, 2005. "Alternative Methods of Price Indexing Social Security: Implications for Benefits and System Financing," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(3), pages 483-504, September.
    6. John Mullahy, 1997. "Instrumental-Variable Estimation Of Count Data Models: Applications To Models Of Cigarette Smoking Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 586-593, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Goda, Gopi Shah & Golberstein, Ezra & Grabowski, David C., 2011. "Income and the utilization of long-term care services: Evidence from the Social Security benefit notch," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 719-729, July.
    2. Tsai, Yuping, 2015. "Social security income and the utilization of home care: Evidence from the social security notch," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 45-55.
    3. Freyberger, Joachim & Horowitz, Joel L., 2015. "Identification and shape restrictions in nonparametric instrumental variables estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 189(1), pages 41-53.
    4. Padmaja Ayyagari & David Frisvold, 2016. "The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages Full Access," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 463-488, Fall.
    5. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Chen, Xi & Wang, Tianyu & Busch, Susan, 2016. "Does Money Relieve Depression? Evidence from Social Pension Expansions in China," IZA Discussion Papers 10037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Terence C. Cheng & Joan Costa-Font & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2018. "Do You Have to Win It to Fix It? A Longitudinal Study of Lottery Winners and Their Health-Care Demand," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 26-50, Winter.
    8. John Cawley & John Moran & Kosali Simon, 2010. "The impact of income on the weight of elderly Americans," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 979-993, August.
    9. Joachim Freyberger & Joel L. Horowitz, 2013. "Identification and shape restrictions in nonparametric instrumental variables estimation," CeMMAP working papers CWP31/13, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    10. Joachim Freyberger & Joel L. Horowitz, 2012. "Identification and shape restrictions in nonparametric instrumental variables estimation," CeMMAP working papers CWP15/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    11. Glazer Jacob & Huskamp Haiden A. & McGuire Thomas G., 2012. "A Prescription for Drug Formulary Evaluation: An Application of Price Indexes," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 1-26, March.
    12. Engelhardt, Gary V., 2008. "Social security and elderly homeownership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 280-305, January.
    13. Tal Gross & Jeremy Tobacman, 2014. "Dangerous Liquidity and the Demand for Health Care: Evidence from the 2008 Stimulus Payments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 424-445.
    14. Vere, James P., 2011. "Social Security and elderly labor supply: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 676-686, October.
    15. Padmaja Ayyagari & David Frisvold, 2015. "The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages," NBER Working Papers 21484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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