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Value of life and behavior toward health risks: an interpretation of social capital

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  • Sherman Folland

    (Department of Economics, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309, USA)

Abstract

An individual assessing a risky job can be understood as a public good. He and each of his valued relationships place a demand for the preservation of his life and health for which he accepts a responsibility to preserve. Additional demands generally do not deplete his capacity for beneficial relationships, hence, they are nonrival. It follows that the more extensive are his relationships the greater is his social capital. Although a common metric to compare and aggregate such relationships is not practical, the paper demonstrates that the common social capital indicators can yield qualitative predictions on changes in risky behaviors in the context of conventional value of life models familiar within health economics. The individual will change his behavior toward risk upon experiencing an exogenous change in his social capital: when he marries, has children, acquires friends, or experiences a more socially active community. The empirical sections of the paper show this prediction to conform well to prior studies of micro data as well as to original empirical analysis of aggregate data. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Sherman Folland, 2006. "Value of life and behavior toward health risks: an interpretation of social capital," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 159-171.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:2:p:159-171
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1022
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2011. "Differences in the effect of social capital on health status between workers and non-workers," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 58(4), pages 385-400, December.
    2. Giacomo Degli Antoni & Fabio Sabatini, 2017. "Social cooperatives, social welfare associations and social networks," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 75(2), pages 212-230, April.
    3. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:174-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2006. "Crime and Circumstance: The Effects of Infant Health Shocks on Fathers' Criminal Activity," NBER Working Papers 12754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Yamamura, Eiji, 2015. "Social capital and views on suicide via the internet: a study using survey data," MPRA Paper 64071, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Folland, Sherman & Islam, Muhammad Quamrul & Kaarbøe, Oddvar Martin, 2012. "The Social Capital and Health Hypothesis: A Theory and New Empirics Featuring the Norwegian HUNT Data," Working Papers in Economics 04/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    7. Giacomo Degli Antoni & Fabio Sabatini, 2013. "Disentangling the relationship between nonprofit and social capital: The role of social cooperatives and social welfare associations in the development of networks of strong and weak ties," Euricse Working Papers 1354, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    8. Damiano, Fiorillo & Lubrano Lavadera, Giuseppe & Nappo, Nunzia, 2017. "Individual heterogeneity in the association between social participation and self-rated health. A panel study on BHPS," MPRA Paper 78933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Nauenberg, Eric & Laporte, Audrey & Shen, Leilei, 2011. "Social capital, community size and utilization of health services: A lagged analysis," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 38-46.
    10. Folland, Sherman, 2007. "Does "community social capital" contribute to population health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(11), pages 2342-2354, June.

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