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The Double Facetted Nature of Health Investments - Implications for Equilibrium and Stability in a Demand-for-Health Framework

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  • Kristian Bolin
  • Bjorn Lindgren

Abstract

A number of behaviours influence health in a non-monotonic way. Physical activity and alcohol consumption, for instance, may be beneficial to one's health in moderate but detrimental in large quantities. We develop a demand-for-health framework that incorporates the feature of a physiologically optimal level. An individual may still choose a physiologically non-optimal level, because of the trade-off in his or her preferences for health versus other utility-affecting commodities. However, any deviation from the physiologically optimal level will be punished with respect to health. A set of steady-state comparative statics is derived regarding the effects on the demand for health and health-related behaviour, indicating that individuals react differently to exogenous changes, depending on the amount of the health-related behaviour they demand. We also show (a) that a steady-state equilibrium is a saddle-point and (b) that the physiologically optimal level may be a steady-state equilibrium for the individual. Our analysis suggests that general public-health policies may, to some extent, be counterproductive due to the responses induced in part of the population.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristian Bolin & Bjorn Lindgren, 2012. "The Double Facetted Nature of Health Investments - Implications for Equilibrium and Stability in a Demand-for-Health Framework," NBER Working Papers 17789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17789
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chang, Fwu-Ranq, 1996. "Uncertainty and investment in health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 369-376, June.
    2. Bolin, Kristian & Lindgren, Björn & Lindström, Martin & Nystedt, Paul, 2003. "Investments in social capital--implications of social interactions for the production of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(12), pages 2379-2390, June.
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    4. Kenkel, Donald S, 1991. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 287-305, April.
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    8. 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.
    9. Bolin, Kristian & Jacobson, Lena & Lindgren, Bjorn, 2002. "Employer investments in employee health: Implications for the family as health producer," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 563-583, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bolin, Kristian & Liljas, Bengt & Lindgren, Björn, 2014. "Individual technologies for health - the implications of distinguishing between the ability to produce health investments and the capacity to benefit from those investments," Working Papers in Economics 587, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Peter Zweifel, 2012. "The Grossman model after 40 years," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(6), pages 677-682, December.

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    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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