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CINCH - Health Economics Research Center

Monday Health Economics Seminar


On Monday January 08, 2018, 14:00 - 15:30 Dr. Adam Pilny (RWI Essen) will present:

Are Doctors the Better Health Ministers? – The Limits of Technocracy

Technocratic governments are often assumed to outperform partisan politicians because professionals can rely on expertise and independence. Technocracy however has a downside that is too frequently overlooked: Technocrats are aligned with professions, which heavily seek for rents. We assess the effects of professionals in government on economic outcomes. We exploit self-compiled biographical data of German state health ministers between 1955 and 2015 who enjoy great autonomy in designing hospital policy. Our results show that total factor productivity (TFP) growth in hospital care substantially slows down when medical doctors become health ministers. We can link this to in-group favoritism: Doctors serving as health ministers increase total hospital employment, and the number of doctors in particular, but hospital outputs and capital inputs do not change. We conclude that technocrats tend to gratify their profession, which hampers innovation, efficiency and growth.

Room: WST-C.02.11, Weststadttürme Berliner Platz 6-8, Essen

To find more on upcoming seminars, click here.

Monday Health Economics Seminar


On Monday December 18, 2017, 14:00 - 15:30 Gregor Pfeifer (Hohenheim) will present:

Goodbye Smokers’ Corner: Health Effects of School Smoking Bans

We study the impact of school smoking bans on individual health behavior in Germany. Using a multiple difference-in-differences approach combined with randomization inference, we find that the propensity towards smoking reduces by 14-21 percent, while the number of smoked cigarettes per day decreases by 7-25 percent. After elaborating on treatment effect heterogeneity and intensity, we evaluate spillovers to other health behavior of the treated individual and to smoking behavior of non-treated persons living in the same household.

Room: WST-C.02.11, Weststadttürme Berliner Platz 6-8, Essen

To find more on upcoming seminars, click here.

New CINCH working paper


A new working paper has been added to the CINCH working paper series: “The long-term consequences of the global 1918 influenza pandemic: A systematic analysis of 117 IPUMS international census data sets” by Sebastian Vollmer and Juditha Wójcik.

Several country-level studies, including a prominent one for the United States, have identified long-term effects of in-utero exposure to the 1918 influenza pandemic (also known as the Spanish Flu) on economic outcomes in adulthood. In-utero conditions are theoretically linked to adult health and socioeconomic status through the fetal origins or Barker hypothesis. Historical exposure to the Spanish Flu provides a natural experiment to test this hypothesis. Although the Spanish Flu was a global phenomenon, with around 500 million people infected worldwide, there exists no comprehensive global study on its long-term economic effects. We attempt to close this gap by systematically analyzing 117 Census data sets provided by IPUMS International. We do not find consistent global long-term effects of influenza exposure on education, employment and disability outcomes. A series of robustness checks does not alter this conclusion. Our findings indicate that the existing evidence on long-term economic effects of the Spanish Flu is likely a consequence of publication bias.

See all working papers.