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Prevention and Cure Efforts Both Substitute and Complement

  • Hennessy, David A.

Suppose one could expend effort to prevent probabilistic transition to an adverse state, and also effort to expedite probabilistic transition to a beneficial state. Bearing in mind that the efforts occur in different states, should these efforts substitute or complement? Two appealing arguments are in conflict. If cure effort is costly, then the incentive to prevent should be high in order to avoid future cure effort costs, i.e. efforts are gross substitutes in demand. If prevention effort is costly, then the incentive to cure should be low since recidivism is likely, i.e. efforts complement. In a lifetime present value model, we show that both arguments have merit. We also show that the prevalence of the adverse state can rise with a subsidy on cure effort costs.

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File URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hec.1270/pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 35014.

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Date of creation: 29 Mar 2012
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Publication status: Published in Health Economics, April 2008, vol. 17, pp. 503-511
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:35014
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. J. Williams & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 2004. "Alcohol and marijuana use among college students: economic complements or substitutes?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 825-843.
  2. Gerald Nordquist & S. Y. Wu, 1976. "The Joint Demand for Health Insurance and Preventive Medicine," NBER Chapters, in: The Role of Health Insurance in the Health Services Sector, pages 35-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ehrlich, Isaac & Becker, Gary S, 1972. "Market Insurance, Self-Insurance, and Self-Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(4), pages 623-48, July-Aug..
  4. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  5. Hey, John D. & Patel, Mahesh S., 1983. "Prevention and cure? : Or: Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 119-138, August.
  6. Tomas J. Philipson & William H. Dow & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Longevity Complementarities under Competing Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1358-1371, December.
  7. Meier, Volker, 2000. "On the demand for preventive care," Munich Reprints in Economics 19191, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Louis Eeckhoudt & Christian Gollier, 2005. "The impact of prudence on optimal prevention," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 989-994, November.
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