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Disease Complementarities and the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions

Author

Listed:
  • William H. Dow
  • Jessica Holmes
  • Tomas Philipson
  • Xavier Sala-i-Martin

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical and empirical investigation of the positive complementarities between disease-specific policies introduced by competing risks of mortality. The incentive to invest in prevention against one cause of death depends positively on the level of survival from other causes. This means that a specific public health intervention has benefits other than the direct medical reduction in mortality: it affects the incentives to fight other diseases so the overall reduction in mortality will, in general, be larger than that predicted by the direct medical effects. We discuss evidence of these cross-disease effects by using data on neo-natal tetanus vaccination through the Expanded Programme on Immunization of the World Health Organization.

Suggested Citation

  • William H. Dow & Jessica Holmes & Tomas Philipson & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Disease Complementarities and the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions," NBER Working Papers 5216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5216
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5216.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arthur, W B, 1981. "The Economics of Risks to Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 54-64, March.
    2. Rosen, Sherwin, 1988. "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 285-304, September.
    3. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. David M. Cutler & Grant Miller, 2004. "The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances: The 20th Century United States," NBER Working Papers 10511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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