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Folic acid advisories, a public health challenge?

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  • Herrera-Araujo, D.

Abstract

Neural tube defects are neurological conditions affecting 1 in 1000 foetuses in France each year. If a foetus is affected there is a 90% chance of the pregnancy being terminated. Increasing folic acid intake over 400μg per day two months before and two months after conception reduces prevalence rates by 80%. Two types of government interventions exist to increase intake and reduce prevalence rates: (1) fortification of staple food, which increases population intake indiscriminately; (2) social marketing seeking to increase intake of conceiving women through information provision. France opted for the latter and has implemented it since mid-2005. This paper sets up a quasi-experimental setting to measure the impact of the french social marketing campaign on consumption using a reduced form approach. I combine a detailed scanner data on grocery purchases with a dataset on macro- and micro- nutrients. Identification exploits the variation in the usefulness of folic acid information between households: households that are conceiving or want to conceive a child use it, while those that are not conceiving do not. Results suggest evidence of a positive impact of the information policy on folic acid household availability and preferences. A value per statistical life for children is found to be at least of e 17 millions.

Suggested Citation

  • Herrera-Araujo, D., 2015. "Folic acid advisories, a public health challenge?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:15/11
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    folic acid; health information; structural demand estimation; public health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income

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