Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Robert Moffitt, and John Karl Scholz
Robert H. Nelson
This article surveys what has been a leading development for American housing and local governance of the past half century: the meteoric rise of community associations. These quasi-government organizations usually are created by land developers and, as the new communities are developed, they evolve into self-governing entities owned by the homeowners and provide an extensive array of local services. In 2010 there were more than three hundred thousand community associations, which housed more than 60 million Americans, or 20 percent of the US population. (This is in contrast to the approximately ninety thousand local governments in the United States.) The growth of these associations has been rapid: between 1980 and 2000, half of the new housing in the United States was built and organized under the private governance of a community association. Most of that growth occurred in the sunny and sandy regions of the West and the South.
Jan Abel Olsen
This article describes the various concepts of equity and fairness that have been developed by economists in health and health care. It begins with a background framework on the principal causes of inequalities in health and health care. It is concerned with equity issues and theories of distributive justice being integrated into health economic models. The discussion of “paradigm of the health frontier” brings equity and efficiency together. It enquires what the key question of equality in terms of stream of health is and is concerned with the equality of opportunities or equality of outcomes. This issue is strongly related to the intricate issue of “personal responsibility.” The renewed interest in the literature on the distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes, as well as in the notion of responsibility, represents an attempt to clarify the reasons why one type of inequality can be labeled fair, while another be unfair. Finally, the article draws some implications.
Michael Baker and Mark Stabile
This article reviews the empirical studies to examine the validity of the notion that health in childhood has both short-term and longer-term economic consequences, and that childhood health is itself a function of a broader set of policies, investment decisions and parental choices, and a function of parental health stock and economic background. Economic research on the relationship between child mental health and economic outcomes is discussed in three categories. The article also includes the role that maternal behavior plays in the development of child health and behavior. It further examines the relationship between maternal substance abuse and child mental health as measured by a behavioral problems index. This article describes the determinants and role of investments in child health on later outcomes. It also identifies some priorities for future research.
This article attempts to take on the policy issues and explores the economic analysis of prevention that can add to policy development. It discusses prevention and draws on the economic concepts of human capital and utility maximization. It provides a framework for investigating the reasons for people making the decisions and their response if their incentives or constraints alter. This approach can yield useful insights into behavior and answer various questions such as the reasons for smoking and the rise in the obesity level. Thus economic analysis can provide a basis for designing prevention strategies. This article addresses the issue of whether there is a current under-investment in prevention. For many policymakers and public health advocates, this question is about whether more prevention will save on care expenditure. Furthermore, the article turns to the special challenges in building an evidence base for prevention policy.
Richard G. Frank
This article notes that problems of incomplete information are particularly salient in the context of mental health. It considers how different nations address economics and mental health in the formulation of mental health policy. It focuses on three key economic phenomena that are central to understanding the allocation of resources to the treatment of mental disorders. These are externalities, methods for efficient rationing of health resources, and incentives for allocating funds across different types of mental health services. This article provides some background on mental disorders and organization of mental health care in different OECD countries. It considers determination of mental health spending as part of health care rationing schemes in various nations. It discusses the role of government and how each country aligns its financing arrangements with stated policy goals of reducing reliance on institutional care for people with mental illnesses. Finally, it offers some concluding observations on mental health policy.
Donald S. Kenkel and Jody Sindelar
This article attempts to provide an overview of the response of economic research on unhealthy substances to these challenges and opportunities. It devotes considerable attention to new econometric methodologies that have been used to assess the causal determinants of dangerous behavior. It introduces models, which economists use to understand consumers' use of unhealthy substances, and discusses the economic approach to substance use policy. It provides an overview of some of the interesting questions being asked in modern empirical research. Numerous reviews for policy relevant findings such as the price-elasticity of the demand for cigarettes and alcohol are discussed. This article complements such reviews and offers a critical perspective on the research challenges behind empirical estimates of even apparently simple economic concepts.
Ramanan Laxminarayan and Anup Malani
Infectious diseases remain a central preoccupation in many countries. This article sets out the economic issues that arise in this highly complex domain. It reviews four main strands of literature on the economics of infectious diseases. It discusses the economic impact of infectious diseases on labor productivity and investment decisions. It focuses on the interplay between disease prevention and treatment and individual risk-taking behavior. It discusses vaccination as an important tool in the prevention of infectious diseases and presents a classic public goods problem. Disease reporting and eradication efforts are also global public goods. A fourth strand of literature is on the optimal design and allocation of resources for prevention and treatment programs. These programs are based on epidemiological models of disease spread that present significant mathematical challenges.
Patricia M. Danzon
This article summarizes the literature, and considers the issue of paying for research and development. It reviews research and development costs, regulation, productivity and incentives for innovation. It discusses market demand and pricing, effects of insurance, reimbursement regulation, alternatives to patents, and generics. Further, it reviews trends in promotion, regulation of promotion and its effects. It discusses global issues, including differential pricing and R&D for neglected diseases. The focus is on the US, as the home of the largest number of multinational pharmaceutical and smaller biotech companies. This article notes the important differences in regulatory and reimbursement systems in other countries. Finally it suggests that although there is large and growing literature on the pharmaceutical industry that has produced valuable information, important issues remain for future research.