Medical Spending, Bequests, and Asset Dynamics around the Time of Death
Using data from the Health and Retirement Survey, we document the changes in assets that occur before a person's death. Applying an event study approach, we find that during the six years preceding their deaths, the assets of single decedents decline, relative to those of similar single survivors, by an additional $20,000 on average. Over the same time span, the assets of couples who lose a spouse fall, relative to those of similar surviving couples, by an additional $90,000 on average. Households experiencing a death also incur higher out-of-pocket medical spending and other end-of-life ...
Financial life after the death of a spouse
The death of a spouse results in a considerable decline in average income for the surviving spouse. The Social Security survivors benefits program compensates the surviving spouse, most often a woman, for almost all of the lost income, allowing them to work less, but many widows who are not yet eligible for the program struggle to meet their financial needs.
What do happiness and health satisfaction data tell us about relative risk aversion?
In this paper we provide estimates of the coefficient of relative risk aversion using information on self-reports of subjective personal well-being from the 2006 Gallup World Poll. We expand the existing literature on the use of happiness data to analyze economic issues by considering the implications of allowing for health state dependence in the utility function. Our estimates of relative risk aversion using pooled data from various country groupings are smaller than one, suggesting less concavity than log utility. We also find that controlling for health dependence generally reduces these ...
Intergenerational Health Mobility in the US
Studies of intergenerational mobility have largely ignored health despite the central importance of health to welfare. We present the first estimates of intergenerational health mobility in the US by using repeated measures of self-reported health status (SRH) during adulthood from the PSID. Our main finding is that there is substantially greater health mobility than income mobility in the US. A possible explanation is that social institutions and policies are more effective at disrupting intergenerational health transmission than income transmission. We further show that health and income ...
How Important Is Health Inequality for Lifetime Earnings Inequality?
Using a dynamic panel approach, we provide empirical evidence that negative health shocks reduce earnings. The effect is primarily driven by the participation margin and is concentrated in less educated individuals and those with poor health. We build a dynamic, general equilibrium, life cycle model that is consistent with these findings. In the model, individuals whose health is risky and heterogeneous choose to either work, or not work and apply for social security disability insurance (SSDI). Health affects individuals’ productivity, SSDI access, disutility from work, mortality, and ...
Remarks at Racism and the Economy: Focus on Health (delivered via prerecorded video).
Policy update: Money for marrow?
Exploring the Correlations between Health and Community Socioeconomic Status in Chicago
Much research demonstrates that where you live ? and the socioeconomic conditions present in that place ? determine individual-level health outcomes. The premise that individual stressors tend to aggregate themselves into communities with poor socioeconomic status (SES) leads to the conclusion that ?where you live determines how long you live.? As former Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke stated, ?Factors such as educational attainment, income, access to healthy food and the safety of a neighborhood tend to correlate with individual health outcomes in that neighborhood.? These factors ...
Community-based strategies for improving health and well-being
This article looks at two initiatives that are taking a local approach to interweave health promotion and community development efforts. These models utilize community-based strategies to improve health outcomes as well as educational, economic, and social outcomes. The first model is Elev8, a national initiative that integrates a range of health and social services into middle-school sites. The second is the Alameda County Public Health Department?s community based approach to addressing health inequities in low-income communities.