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The Effect of Education on Medical Technology Adoption: Are the More Educated More Likely to Use New Drugs

  • Adriana Lleras-Muney
  • Frank R. Lichtenberg

There is a large body of work that documents a strong, positive correlation between education and measures of health, but little is known about the mechanisms by which education might affect health. One possibility is that more educated individuals are more likely to adopt new medical technologies. We investigate this theory by asking whether more educated people are more likely to use newer drugs, while controlling for other individual characteristics, such as income and insurance status. Using the 1997 MEPS, we find that more highly educated people are more likely to use drugs more recently approved by the FDA. We find that education only matters for individuals who repeatedly purchase drugs for a given condition, suggesting that the more educated are better able to learn from experience.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9185.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9185.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Publication status: published as Lleras-Muney, Adriana and Frank Lichtenberg. “The Effect Of Education On Medical Technology Adoption: Are The More Educated More Likely To Use New Drugs?" Annales d’Economie et Statistique in memory of Zvi Griliches 79/80 (2006).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9185
Note: HC HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1996. "Do (More and Better) Drugs Keep People Out of Hospitals?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 384-88, May.
  2. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2001. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the U. S," Working Papers 272, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  3. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
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  7. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Why Are There Returns to Schooling?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 153-58, May.
  8. Coulson, N.E. & Terza, J. & Neslusan, C.A. & Stuart, B., 1995. "Estimating the Moral Hazard Effect of Supplemental Medical Insurance in the Demand for Prescription Drugs by the Elderly," Papers 04-95-01, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  9. Lee A. Lillard & Jeannette Rogowski & Raynard Kington, 1999. "Insurance Coverage for Prescription Drugs: Effects on Use and Expenditures in the Medicare Population," Working Papers 99-09, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  10. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  11. Laurence C. Baker, 2000. "Managed Care and Technology Adoption in Health Care: Evidence from Magnetic Resonance Imaging," NBER Working Papers 8020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2005. "Pharmaceutical Knowledge-Capital Accumulation and Longevity," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 237-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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 223-55, March-Apr.
  14. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1989. "Schooling, Information and Nonmarket Productivity: Contraceptive Use and Its Effectiveness," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 457-77, May.
  15. Temin, Peter, 1980. "Regulation and the Choice of Prescription Drugs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 301-05, May.
  16. Bruce Christenson & Nan Johnson, 1995. "Educational Inequality in Adult Mortality: An Assessment with Death Certificate Data from Michigan," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 215-229, May.
  17. 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.
  18. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla, 2001. "Understanding Health Disparities Across Education Groups," NBER Working Papers 8328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Sander, William, 1995. "Schooling and Quitting Smoking," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 191-99, February.
  20. Alan T. Sorensen, 2001. "An Empirical Model of Heterogeneous Consumer Search for Retail Prescription Drugs," NBER Working Papers 8548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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