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CINCH - Health Economics Research Center

New CINCH Working paper


A new working paper has been added to the CINCH working paper series: “Early Life Exposure to Above Average Rainfall and Adult Mental Health” by Mochamad Pasha Marc Rockmore and Chih Ming Tan.

Abstract: We study the effect of early life exposure to above average levels of rainfall on adult mental health. While we find no effect from pre-natal exposure, post-natal positive rainfall shocks decrease average Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CESD) mental health scores by 15 percent and increase the likelihood of depression by 5 percent, a more than 20 percent increase relative to the mean. These effects are limited to females. We rule out prenatal stress and income shocks as pathways and find evidence suggestive of increased exposure to disease.

See all working papers.

Monday Health Economics Semianr


On Monday, December 3 2018, 14:00 - 15:30, Christoph Kronenberg (CINCH) will present:

New(spaper) evidence on the relationship between business cycles and suicides

Suicides hurt families and the economy with an annual cost of $69 billion in the USA. The literature typically finds that suicides are countercyclical in contrast to most other health outcomes. Thus, if the economy improves, the number of suicides tend to go up and vice versa. If this was a causal finding, governments should heavily invest into suicide prevention during economic booms and reduce that investment during recessions. However, the majority of the empirical evidence is based on association studies from the 20th and 21st century. This is the first work to extend this literature to the 19th century. Shifting the time horizon limits the possible confounding effects of health insurance, labor market protections and mental health care on the relationship between the state of the economy and suicides, as they were either not existent or in their infancy. Furthermore, regular business cycle movements are somewhat predictable by individuals. We therefore use the value of gold and silver discoveries as an economic shock, while previous works used GDP or the unemployment rate to proxy business cycles.

Given that no suicide records exist for the 19th century, we build an index of newspaper suicide mentions by dividing the number of suicide mentions through the total number of newspaper pages available for a given year and state.

Preliminary results confirm previous findings that suicides are countercyclical. Gold discoveries did not universally lead to wealth and thus provide an opportunity to explore the effect of an economic shock on its winners and losers. Therefore, future steps include looking at Chinese, Mexican and Native American miners who were met with varying degrees of animosity. Exploring the effect on them is an avenue to study the effect heterogeneity of gold discoveries on suicides.

Room: WST-C.02.12, Weststadttürme Berliner Platz 6-8, Essen

To find more on upcoming seminars, click here.

Monday Health Economics Seminar


On Monday, November 26 2018, 14:00 - 15:30, Raf van Gestel (Erasmus University Rotterdam) will present:

Subsidized Health Insurance and Healthcare Utilization: evidence from a large-scale field experiment

In this paper we evaluate the effect of subsidized cost-sharing on healthcare utilization with a randomized experiment involving more than 12.000 households. Belgian national legislation obliged all health insurers to contact potentially eligible low-income households to apply for subsidized insurance. The randomized timing of sending a letter and flyer serves as an instrument to evaluate the effect of subsidized cost-sharing, the system of Increased Reimbursement (IR), on healthcare utilization. We find limited evidence for consumptive responses to IR. In addition, beneficiaries do not spend significantly less on healthcare because of an out-of-pocket maximum on expenditures.

Room: WST-C.02.12, Weststadttürme Berliner Platz 6-8, Essen

To find more on upcoming seminars, click here.