Universität Hohenheim

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Kaiser, Micha

Essays in health economics

Aufsätze zur Gesundheitsökonomie


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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:100-opus-14373
URL: http://opus.uni-hohenheim.de/volltexte/2018/1437/

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SWD-Schlagwörter: Health Economics , Gesundheitsökonomie , Gesundheitsverhalten , Volkswirtschaftslehre , Ökonometrie , Statistik
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Unemployment , risky behaviors , child well-being , skin cancer screening , benfords law
Institut: Institut für Health Care & Public Management
Fakultät: Fakultät Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
DDC-Sachgruppe: Wirtschaft
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Sousa-Poza, Alfonso Prof. Dr.
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 08.11.2017
Erstellungsjahr: 2018
Publikationsdatum: 20.02.2018
Lizenz: Hohenheimer Lizenzvertrag Veröffentlichungsvertrag mit der Universitätsbibliothek Hohenheim ohne Print-on-Demand
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: In economic theory a lot of attention is given to the understanding and modelling of consumption decisions of individuals. Usually, most models assume that individuals consume different markets goods and maximize their utility with respect to certain constraints. These constraints can be of various kinds. Besides monetary constraints health related constraints are vitally important during the maximization process of individuals. In such a paradigm, individuals would therefore benefit indirectly from being in a good health state, since this would imply that they are less constrained and could therefore shift their individual utility to a higher level. Moreover, health can also be treated as a good itself. Such an approach would assign a direct effect of different health states to an individuals utility rather than incorporating health states by including them as a source for binding constraints. Apart from the different strategies in modelling the consumption decisions, both ways of thinking have in common that the achievement as well as the maintenance of a good health state is – to some extent - a necessary condition to foster the utility maximization process.
Additionally, health outcomes of individuals are highly sensitive to economic circumstances and different policy interventions. For instance, a change in the individuals income will lead to an adjustment of the optimal consumption decision and therefore also to an adjustment of the health outcome (either in a direct or indirect way). Therefore a profound understanding of the impact of changes in economic and political processes helps to assess their effects on the health outcomes of individuals. Hence, this thesis investigates the impact of different economic factors and policy interventions on health. In particular, the thesis contributes to the literature in the following way:
Chapter two uses 22 years of data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and information on plant closures to investigate the effects of unemployment on four indicators of unhealthy lifestyles: diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, and (a lack of) physical activity. The main goal is to assess possible causal effects of unemployment on risky behaviors. In fact, in contrast to much of the existing literature the empirical identification strategy used in this analysis, is able to clearly identify exogenous effect and therefore avoids endogeneity, which may result from reversed causality. The main results provide little evidence that unemployment gives rise to unhealthy lifestyles.
Chapter three evaluates the relation between preschool care and the well-being of children and adolescents in Germany by using data from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey of Children and Adolescents. Analyzing this relationship is important to provide conclusive knowledge for parents as well as policy-makers due to several reasons. While parents are interested in providing the best health outcomes for their children, policy-makers need to balance a possible trade-off between economic as well as social costs and benefits related to preschool care. Additionally, the chapter examines differences in outcomes based on child socioeconomic background by focusing on the heterogeneous effects for migrant children. The findings suggest that children who have experienced child care have a slightly lower well-being overall. For migrant children, however, the outcomes indicate a positive relation.
The fourth chapter analyzes how a nationwide population-based skin cancer screening program (SCS) implemented in Germany in 2008 has impacted the number of hospital discharges following malignant skin neoplasm diagnosis and the malignant melanoma mortality rate per 100,000 inhabitants. Therefore, panel data from the Eurostat database, which covers subregions in 22 European countries is analyzed for the years 2000-2013. By using fixed-effects methods, the causal relationship between the skin cancer screening program and the change in diagnosis and mortality rates are identified and a policy implication is derived. While the results indicate that Germany’s nationwide SCS program is effective in terms of a higher diagnosis rate for malignant skin neoplasms and thus may contribute to an improvement in the early detection of skin cancer, there is no significant influence on the melanoma mortality rate.
Chapter five analyzes how closely different income measures conform to Benford’s law, a mathematical predictor of probable first digit distribution across many sets of numbers. Because Benford’s law can be used to test data set reliability, a Benford analysis is applied to assess the quality of six widely used health related survey data sets. This is of particularly importance for health economists, since the majority of empirical work in this field relies on information from survey data. The findings indicate that although income generally obeys Benford’s law, almost all the data sets show substantial discrepancies from it, which can be interpreted as a strong indicator of reliability issues in the survey data. This result is confirmed by a simulation, which demonstrates that household level income data do not manifest the same poor performance as individual level data. This finding implies that researchers should focus on household level characteristics whenever possible to reduce observation errors.
Kurzfassung auf Deutsch: In der Wirtschaftstheorie wird dem Verstehen und Modellieren der Konsumentscheidungen von Individuen große Aufmerksamkeit zugesprochen. Üblicherweise wird davon ausgegangen, dass die Individuen verschiedene Marktgüter konsumieren und unter bestimmten Restriktionen ihren Nutzen maximieren, wobei diese Restriktionen unterschiedlicher Art sein können. Neben monetären Restriktionen sind auch gesundheitsbezogene Restriktionen höchst wichtig während des Maximierungsprozesses von Individuen. In einem solchen Paradigma würden Individuen indirekt von einer guten Gesundheit profitieren, da dies bedeuten würde, dass sie weniger restringiert wären und ihr Nutzenniveau dadurch auf ein höheres Level verschieben können. Darüber hinaus kann die Gesundheit auch als ein eigenständiges Gut behandelt werden. Solch ein Ansatz würde einen direkten Effekt von verschiedenen Gesundheitszuständen auf den Nutzen eines Individuums zuweisen, anstatt Gesundheitszustände einzubeziehen, indem sie diese als eine Quelle für bindende Restriktionen einschließen. Abgesehen von den unterschiedlichen Strategien bei der Modellierung der Konsumentscheidungen haben beide Denkweisen gemeinsam, dass die Erreichung, sowie die Aufrechterhaltung eines guten Gesundheitszustandes – in gewissem Maße – eine Notwendige Bedingung für die Förderung des Nutzenmaximierungsprozesses ist.
Diese Arbeit/Thesis untersucht deshalb die Auswirkungen verschiedener ökonomischer Faktoren und politischer Eingriffe auf die Gesundheit.

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