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CINCH - Health Economics Research Center

Virtual Essen Health Economics Seminar


On Monday, November 30 2020, 16:00 - 17:30, Martin Karlsson (University of Duisburg-Essen) will present:

We don’t need no Education? The long-run Effects of School Closures during the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic

A substantial body of evidence examines the effects of pandemics on mortality and the economy in the short and medium run. However, little evidence exists with respect to specific policies that aim to limit the  spread of the disease, and in particular their long-run effects. Our paper addresses this gap and examines the long-run effects of school closures during the Spanish Flu of 1918 on human capital development. We use Swedish register data on the universe of individuals born between 1900 and 1914, and we observe their human capital outcomes at the 1960 and 1970 census. To examine the mortality effects of the pandemic, we use the universe of all deaths occuring between 1914 and 1921. We merge self-collected data on school closures to the data. We will exploit the staggered introduction of school closures within an event-study design to estimate the effect of school closures on individual's long-run human capital development.

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


On Monday, November 23 2020, 16:00 - 17:30, Natalia Bulla (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Irene Mussio (Newcastle University School of Business) will present:

The Effects of Acute Stress on Risk and Time Preferences. Can Mindfulness Meditation Help?

Stress influences decision-making processes and is one of the drivers of changes in economic preferences. Many techniques have been suggested to tackle stress, ranging from exercising to medical counselling. One of the novel techniques is mindfulness meditation, which aims to put the focus of the individual on the present moment and should be able to help manage stress. With this in mind, we investigate whether stress impacts individual risk and time preferences, and whether a brief mindfulness breathing exercise affects preferences as well. We conduct a controlled laboratory experiment with a student subject pool. We aim to reduce the level of individual stress with a mindfulness meditation task, while increasing stress via a cognitive load task. As a measure of stress, we track participants' heart rates in a continuous manner during the experimental session. Our preliminary results show that a brief mindfulness task reduces the average heart rate for participants who were exposed to stress by 3.8% and those who were not by 3.4%. So far, we do not find effects of the brief mindfulness breathing exercise on risk and time preferences.

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.

New CINCH Working Paper


A new working paper has been added to the CINCH working paper series: “New(spaper) Evidence of a Reduction in Suicide Mentions during the 19th-century US Gold Rush” by Christoph Kronenberg.

Abstract: I analyze the relationship between state‐level economic shocks and suicides using historical US gold discoveries (1840‐1860) as a large unexpected economic shock.
Gold discoveries were an unexpected and large economic shock of up to 3.5% of GDP. They provide as good as random variation to the local economy, that I use to estimate the effect of economic changes on suicides. Comprehensive mortality data by state and year does not exist for the US for 1840 to 1860. I thus make use of web scraped data from a newspaper archive and use suicide mentions per 100,000 pages as a proxy for suicides.
Results show that overall gold discoveries are linked with a clear reduction in  newspaper suicide mentions. The results indicate that an economic shock  changes the suicide rate by one for every $136,659 to $251,145. This is estimate implies a higher cost‐effectiveness than previous research but is still seven to fourteen times the size of modern, cost‐effective suicide prevention method.

See all working papers.