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Folic acid advisories: a public health challenge?

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  • Daniel Herrera‐Araujo

Abstract

Neural tube defects are neurological conditions affecting 1 in 1000 foetuses in France each year. If a foetus is affected there is a 90% chance of the pregnancy being terminated. Increasing folic acid intake over 400μg per day two months before and two months after conception reduces prevalence rates by 80%. Two types of government interventions exist to increase intake and reduce prevalence rates: (1) fortification of staple food, which increases population intake indiscriminately; (2) social marketing seeking to increase intake of conceiving women through information provision. France opted for the latter and has implemented it since mid-2005. This paper sets up a quasi-experimental setting to measure the impact of the french social marketing campaign on consumption using a reduced form approach. I combine a detailed scanner data on grocery purchases with a dataset on macro- and micro- nutrients. Identification exploits the variation in the usefulness of folic acid information between households: households that are conceiving or want to conceive a child use it, while those that are not conceiving do not. Results suggest evidence of a positive impact of the information policy on folic acid household availability and preferences. A value per statistical life for children is found to be at least of e 17 millions.
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Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Herrera‐Araujo, 2016. "Folic acid advisories: a public health challenge?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(9), pages 1104-1122, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:25:y:2016:i:9:p:1104-1122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Llanos, Adolfo & Hertrampf, Eva & Cortes, Fanny & Pardo, Andrea & Grosse, Scott D. & Uauy, Ricardo, 2007. "Cost-effectiveness of a folic acid fortification program in Chile," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(2-3), pages 295-303, October.
    2. Pierre Dubois & Rachel Griffith & Aviv Nevo, 2014. "Do Prices and Attributes Explain International Differences in Food Purchases?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 832-867, March.
    3. de Chaisemartin, Clement & D'Haultfoeuille, Xavier, 2014. "Fuzzy Changes-in Changes," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 184, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income

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