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Health and Economic Behaviour: a Critical Survey of the Literature

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  • S. Balia

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to give a brief overview of the relevant literature on health economics. Theoretical and empirical researches are reviewed to examine the traditional perception of health and pro- vide some general intuition of why the study of the individual eco- nomic behaviour is important in the ¯eld of health. Health, wealth and lifestyles are intimately linked through a complex bidirectional re- lationship. Economists have contributed much at its understanding and have overcome the limits of the medical and epidemiological approaches. This survey concentrates on the main estimation problems found in the health production function approach. Econometric methods that take account of reverse causation, unobservable heterogeneity and endogene- ity are needed to recover the genuine causal e®ect of socio-economic factors and health-related behaviours on health. Finally, this survey looks at inequality in health as an urgent public interest issue and sug- gests to disentangle the causes of health inequalities from an economic perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Balia, 2005. "Health and Economic Behaviour: a Critical Survey of the Literature," Working Paper CRENoS 200505, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  • Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:200505
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew, 2004. "How is mortality affected by money, marriage, and stress?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1181-1207, November.
    2. Balia, Silvia & Jones, Andrew M., 2008. "Mortality, lifestyle and socio-economic status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-26, January.
    3. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    4. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    5. Bommier, Antoine & Stecklov, Guy, 2002. "Defining health inequality: why Rawls succeeds where social welfare theory fails," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 497-513, May.
    6. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
    7. Fuchs, Victor R., 2000. "The future of health economics1," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 141-157, March.
    8. Michael Grossman, 1976. "The Correlation between Health and Schooling," NBER Chapters,in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 147-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Culyer, A. J. & Wagstaff, Adam, 1993. "Equity and equality in health and health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 431-457, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cinzia Di Novi, 2010. "The influence of traffic-related pollution on individuals' life-style: results from the BRFSS," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(11), pages 1318-1344.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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