Causality: Granger Causality

Earlier this year, I reviewed one definition of causality: the Bradford Hill criteria. Now I move from a medical definition causality to one developed by an economist (in fact, an economist from my alma matter). Granger causality basically identifies a variable as causal if: (i) it occurs the outcome of interest and (ii) including past…

Do pharmaceuticals improve quality of life? A Bayesian answer to the question when there is missing data

Let’s say we are interested in determining whether a particular treatment improves quality of life. Common measures of quality of life include EQ-5D, SF-12, and SF-36, among others. However, a systematic review of 237 randomized controlled trials found that only 43% collected SF-12 or SF-36 measures. If you are measuring a treatment’s effect on quality…

Discrete choice experiments

How have discrete choice experiments changed over time? This is the question Soekhai et al. (2018) try to answer.  They conduct a systematic literature review covering 27 years of data.  Below I summarize some of their findings graphically. First, you see a trend of an increasing number of DCEs. We also see that whereas DCEs…

Open-Source tools for economic modelling

QuantEcon is an interesting site from some high profile economists advocating for open-source tools for quantitative economic analysis.  The organization describes itself  on their website as follows: QuantEcon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving economic modeling by enhancing computational tools for economists.  Our activities include developing and facilitating the development of open source software…

Decisions under ambiguity

In health care, decisions are always made with imperfect information.  How ambiguity affects stakeholder decisionmaking and in particular how ambiguity interacts with risk preferences to affect decisions is unknown.  A paper by Attema, Bleichrodt and L’Haridon (2018) aims to answer this question using a general ambiguity model.  They find that: For health gains, ambiguity preferences…

Estimating the price elasticity of demand through value-based formulary designs

In 2010, Premera Blue Cross (Premera), a large nonprofit health plan in the Pacific Northwest implemented a value-based formulary design for its beneficiaries.   In essence, enrollees could purchase high-value treatments for low copayments and low-value treatments for higher copayments.  Can we use this change from more standard to value-base formulary designs to estimate the price elasticity…