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It'll only hurt a second? Microeconomic determinants of who gets flu shots

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  • John Mullahy

Abstract

Appreciating how the propensity to be immunized against the flu depends on individual characteristics and environments is essential for policies regarding influenza control to be formulated sensibly. To this point, the literature has offered little documentation on the determinants of influenza immunization. Beyond epidemiology, there are important economic issues that must be addressed to understand this form of preventive care. One concerns the relationship between labour supply and immunization propensity: While it is relatively costly (in terms of time costs) for workers to obtain immunizations, workers also have relatively more to lose from being ill with the flu. Another concern not generally appreciated is the extent to which individuals’ perceived risks of infection may affect their propensities to be immunized. The paper also attempts to shed light on these issues. The analysis uses data from the 1991 National Health Interview Survey. Immunization propensity displays expected patterns by age and health status, while the results with respect to race, household structure, income and insurance are somewhat more surprising and/or novel. The estimated labour supply and perceived risk effects suggest that some aspects of the economics of preventive care generally not considered in empirical work are important and merit further consideration. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • John Mullahy, 1999. "It'll only hurt a second? Microeconomic determinants of who gets flu shots," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 9-24, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:8:y:1999:i:1:p:9-24
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1050(199902)8:1<9::AID-HEC396>3.0.CO;2-X
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1050(199902)8:13.0.CO;2-X
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1985. "A Simultaneous Equations Linear Probability Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-37, February.
    2. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-951, July.
    3. White, Halbert, 1982. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Independent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 483-499, March.
    4. Borjas, George J. & Sueyoshi, Glenn T., 1994. "A two-stage estimator for probit models with structural group effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 165-182.
    5. Tomas Philipson, 1996. "Private Vaccination and Public Health: An Empirical Examination for U.S. Measles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 611-630.
    6. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    7. Avner Ahituv & V. Joseph Hotz & Tomas Philipson, 1996. "The Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Local Prevalence of AIDS," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 869-897.
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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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