Child health in developed countries
In: Handbook of Health Economics
This chapter provides an overview of the literature on child health in developed countries. I first lay out a simple economic model of the demand for child health inputs, and discuss whether the evidence is consistent with that model. Next, two main causes of market failure in the market for child health inputs -- lack of information and externalities -- are analyzed. These failures may provide an economic rationale for government intervention in the market for health care. Much of the literature on child health has focused on one such intervention, the provision of public health insurance. However, the utilization of health care is only one input into the production of child health, and it is far from the most important input for most children. Hence, the last section of this chapter offers a brief review of what we know about the effects of government interventions designed to address other threats to child health. The chapter concludes with some opinions about useful direction for future research and data collection efforts.
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