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Economics of self-medication: theory and evidence

  • Fwu-Ranq Chang

    (Department of Economics, Wylie Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA)

  • Pravin K. Trivedi

    (Department of Economics, Wylie Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA)

A pervasive phenomenon in developing countries is that self-prescribed medications are purchased from drug vendors without professional supervision. In this article we develop a model of self-medicating behavior of a utility-maximizing consumer who balances the benefits and risks of self-medication. The empirical investigation focuses on the role of income and health insurance on the use of self-medication. Our data are from the World Bank's Living Standards Measurement Survey of Vietnam, 1997-1998. The results show that self-medication is an inferior good at high income levels and a normal good at low income levels, and it shows a strong and robust negative insurance effect. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.841
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2003)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 721-739

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:12:y:2003:i:9:p:721-739
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Mullahy, John, 1998. "Much ado about two: reconsidering retransformation and the two-part model in health econometrics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-281, June.
  2. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  3. Cameron, A C & P. K. Trivedi & Frank Milne & J. Piggott, 1988. "A Microeconometric Model of the Demand for Health Care and Health Insurance in Australia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 85-106, January.
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