European Science Days

I have recently been selected to attend the European Science Days in Steyr, Austria.  This year, the subject matter to be discussed at this prestigious summer school is Health Economics.  I am greatly looking forward to visiting some of my European colleagues in mid-July.

Health Wonk Review

Is Massachusetts’ Universal Coverage plan working? Is it better to compensate physicians on a fee-for-service or capitation basis? What happened to the £72 million the UK intended to use to fund the NHS University and what is the history of capitation payments? Expert answers to all these questions and more are just a few clicks…

Health care systems in East Asia

A recent Health Economics article by Adam Wagstaff gives a good comparison of five East Asian countries: Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. While Japan (1961), Korea (1989) and Taiwan (1995) have introduced universal health insurance, Singapore and Honk Kong have not. Singapore began using medical savings account (MSAs) in 1984, but MSAs only…

Me too drugs

There is a very interesting series of blog posts at the Economist’s Free Exchange blog. Part I: Me too! Me too! Part II: More on me-toos Part III: We talk back Here’s a quotation from part I: “In what other industry does anyone under the age of sixty still believe that each product category should…

The growth of convenience clinics

About a year ago (“Attention Shoppers“), this blog noted the rapid expansion of walk-in health clinics staffed by nurse practitioners. This week, the Economist magazine (“McClinics“) highlights growing popularity of walk-in clinics such as RediClinic, MinuteClinic, and Health Stop. Patients appreciate the convenient locations, shorter wait times, and lower costs.  More information can be found…

Seemingly Unrelated Regressions

Let us pretend you have a system of M equations, with N observations for each equation. For example, if we are estimating supply and demand independently over 20 years, M=2 and N=20. If each of the regressors is predetermined in each equation and we have an exclusion restriction, we can use the Seemingly Unrelated Regressions…

Simultaneous Equation Bias

One estimation procedure preformed by many novice economists is to use OLS to regress quantity on price. Let us assume the following framework (omitting the i subscripts on the variables): qd = α0 + α1p + u qs = β0 + β1p + v qd = qs If we regress qd on a constant and…

How to fix L.A. traffic

As a resident of Southern California for the last 3 years, I have gained intimate knowledge of the price of perfect weather: traffic.  How do you fix traffic in a “a sprawling mid-density city” such as Los Angeles or San Diego?  This Sunday’s L.A. Times (“How to fix traffic”) gives some suggestions that most economists…

A drastic decision

Anna Gorman was faced with a terrible decision: remove her ovaries and be faced without a life with the children she desired, or keep the ovaries and face a 54% higher chance of ovarian cancer and 81% chance of breast cancer.  Mrs. Gorman has the BRCA1 genetic mutation which puts her at great risk for…

Market for elective surgery

A frequent topic of investigation in health economics is to estimate the elasticity of the demand for medical procedures with respect to wait times.  A paper by Martin, Rice, Jacobs and Smith in the Journal of Health Economics uses quarterly data from 200 English hospitals between 1995-2002 in order to separately estimate the supply and…