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CINCH - Health Economics Research Center

Virtual Essen Health Economics Seminar

27.10.2020

On Monday, November 2 2020, 16:00 - 17:30, Libertad González (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) will present:

Prenatal Transfers and Infant Health: Evidence from Spain

We estimate the impact of a cash transfer to women on their (future) children’s birth outcomes, exploiting the introduction of a universal child benefit in Spain. Using administrative data from birth records and a regression discontinuity approach, we find that low-income women who received the benefit were much less likely to give birth to low birth-weight children, several years down the road. A 2,500-euro transfer led to a 2.2 decline in low birth-weight status among women in poor households. Given that about 6% of children were low birth-weight, this represents a 36% reduction. We find that the effect is driven by both longer gestation and faster intrauterine growth. We provide some evidence of improved maternal health behaviors and outcomes. Recent research suggests that benefits targeting pregnant women may be more effective than later interventions, given the strong persistence of fetal health effects. Our results suggest that the impact may be even stronger if women are targeted even earlier, before conception.

Room: Due to the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the talk will be held in a virtual seminar room. For more information click here.


Virtual Essen Health Economics Seminar

21.10.2020

On Monday, October 26 2020, 16:00 - 17:30, Tobias Müller (Bern University of Applied Sciences) will present:

Rents for Pills: How Financial Incentives Influence Physician Behavior

We study the "perfect agent" hypothesis by exploiting a recent regime-change in drug dispensing introducing financial incentives into the drug prescription decisions of physicians in two large Swiss cities. Using detailed physician-, patient- and product-level claims data from a large health insurer, we find that dispensing leads to significant increases in drug spending per patient by up to 15%. Our analysis is indicative that dispensing operates through two main channels: a) physicians increase the number of packages prescribed to patients which is compatible with a package size channel and b) physicians switch to more profitable brands implying a cherry-picking response. On the other hand, our findings suggest that the financial rewards inherent in dispensing do not alter the dosage-decisions of doctors nor do they result in practice style changes. Overall, our analysis shows that dispensing induces physicians to engage in rent-seeking behavior resulting in avoidable costs for the health care system.

Room: Due to the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the talk will be held in a virtual seminar room. For more information click here.


Virtual Essen Health Economics Seminar

13.10.2020

On Monday, October 19 2020, 16:00 - 17:30, Abel Brodeur (University of Ottawa) will present:

Cost-Benefit Analysis of COVID-19 Lockdowns

In this paper, we examine the cost-benefits of lockdowns in the U.S. We first document the impacts of lockdowns on labor market outcomes. Our estimates suggest that these policies increased unemployment by nearly 2.5 percentage points. We apply our estimates to compute lost income ($15.7-$26.9 billion), reduced government income tax revenues ($2.7-$4.6 billion), and increased unemployment insurance benefit payments ($20.8-$35.5 billion). We complement our analysis with estimates of COVID-19 impact from other studies on reduced COVID-19 incidence, hospitalizations, crime, air pollution and car collisions, and increased incidence of domestic violence. Our estimates suggest that it is unclear whether or not lockdowns are cost effective. We conclude with a discussion of other policies, such as mask mandates, which might be more efficient to face a COVID-19 second wave.

Room: Due to the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the talk will be held in a virtual seminar room. For more information click here.