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Family Health Behaviors

Author

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  • Itzik Fadlon

    (Department of Economics, University of California)

  • Torben Heien Nielsen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper studies how health behaviors and investments are shaped through intra- and inter-generational family spillovers. Specffically, leveraging administrative healthcare data, we identify the effects of health shocks to individuals on their family members' consumption of preventive care and utilization indicative of health-related behaviors. Our identification strategy relies on the timing of shocks by constructing counterfactuals to affected households using households that experience the same shock but a few years in the future. We find that spouses and adult children immediately increase their health investments and improve their health behaviors in response to family shocks, and that these effects are both significant and persistent for at least several years. Notably, we find that these spillover effects in consumption of healthcare are far-reaching and cascade to siblings, stepchildren, sons and daughters in-law, and even "close" coworkers. Using different strategies we show that while a variety of mechanisms seem to be at play, including learning new information about one's own health, there is consistent evidence in support of salience as a major operative explanation, even when the family shock was likely uninformative. Our results have implications for models of health behaviors, by underscoring the importance of one's family and social network in their determination, and are potentially informative for policies that aim to improve population health.

Suggested Citation

  • Itzik Fadlon & Torben Heien Nielsen, 2017. "Family Health Behaviors," EPRU Working Paper Series 17-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:17-05
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    3. Bouckaert, Nicolas & Gielen, Anne C. & Van Ourti, Tom, 2020. "It runs in the family – Influenza vaccination and spillover effects," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    4. Vincent Boucher & Yann Bramoullé, 2020. "Binary Outcomes and Linear Interactions," AMSE Working Papers 2038, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    5. Zhaonan Qu & Ruoxuan Xiong & Jizhou Liu & Guido Imbens, 2021. "Efficient Treatment Effect Estimation in Observational Studies under Heterogeneous Partial Interference," Papers 2107.12420, arXiv.org.
    6. Gathmann, Christina & Huttunen, Kristiina & Jernström, Laura & Sääksvuori, Lauri & Stitzing, Robin, 2020. "In Sickness and in Health: Job Displacement and Health Spillovers in Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 13329, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Aouad, Marion, 2021. "An Examination of the Intracorrelation of Family Health Insurance," IZA Discussion Papers 14541, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Elinder, Mikael & Hu, Xiao & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2021. "Water Conservation and the Common Pool Problem: Can Pricing Address Free-Riding in Residential Hot Water Consumption?," Working Paper Series 1402, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    9. Vaalavuo, Maria, 2021. "The unequal impact of ill health: Earnings, employment, and mental health among breast cancer survivors in Finland," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    10. Rellstab, Sara & Bakx, Pieter & García-Gómez, Pilar & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2020. "The kids are alright - labour market effects of unexpected parental hospitalisations in the Netherlands," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    11. Cynthia Kinnan & Krislert Samphantharak & Robert Townsend & Diego Vera-Cossio, 2019. "Insurance and Propagation in Village Networks," PIER Discussion Papers 115, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Aljoscha Janssen & Elle Parslow, 2021. "Pregnancy persistently reduces alcohol purchases: Causal evidence from scanner data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 231-247, February.
    13. Fontenay, Sébastien & Tojerow, Ilan, 2020. "Work Disability after Motherhood and How Paternity Leave Can Help," IZA Discussion Papers 13756, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Hodor, Michal, 2021. "Family health spillovers: evidence from the RAND health insurance experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    15. Emily Nix & Martin Eckhoff Andresen, 2019. "What Causes the Child Penalty? Evidence from Same Sex Couples and Policy Reforms," Discussion Papers 902, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    16. Menon, Seetha, 2021. "The effect of domestic violence on cardiovascular risk," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 7/2021, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
    17. Crudu, Federico & Neri, Laura & Tiezzi, Silvia, 2021. "Family ties and child obesity in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C).
    18. Klauber, Hannah & Holub, Felix & Koch, Nicolas & Pestel, Nico & Ritter, Nolan & Rohlf, Alexander, 2021. "Killing Prescriptions Softly: Low Emission Zones and Child Health from Birth to School," IZA Discussion Papers 14376, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Gil, Ricard & Kim, Myongjin, 2021. "Does competition increase quality? Evidence from the US airline industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    20. Jones, Melanie K. & McVicar, Duncan, 2020. "Estimating the impact of disability onset on employment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 255(C).
    21. Yiqun Chen & Petra Persson & Maria Polyakova, 2019. "The Roots of Health Inequality and The Value of Intra-Family Expertise," NBER Working Papers 25618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Hirani, Jonas Lau-Jensen, 2021. "Inattention or reluctance? Parental responses to vaccination reminder letters," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    23. Wiljan van den Berge, 2019. "Automatic Reaction – What Happens to Workers at Firms that Automate?," CPB Discussion Paper 390, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health Behaviors; Health Shocks; Spillovers; Family; Coworkers;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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