Flat-of-the-Curve Medicine – A New Perspective on the Production of Health
Health economists have studied the determinants of the expected value of health status as a function of medical and nonmedical inputs, often finding small marginal effects of the former. This paper argues that both types of input have an additional benefit, viz. a reduced variability of health status. Using OECD health data for 24 countries between 1960 and 2004, medical and nonmedical inputs are found to reduce the variability of life expectancy. While the evidence supports the "flat-of-the-curve medicine" hypothesis with respect to the expected value of life expectancy and its variability, healthcare expenditure is comparatively effective in reducing variability.
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