Disease Complementarities and the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions

38 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2000 Last revised: 17 Mar 2008

See all articles by William H. Dow

William H. Dow

Yale University - Department of Economics

Jessica Holmes

Yale University - Department of Economics

Tomas Philipson

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Xavier Sala-i-Martin

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Date Written: August 1995

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical and empirical investigation of the positive complementarities between disease-specific policies introduced by competing risks of mortality. The incentive to invest in prevention against one cause of death depends positively on the level of survival from other causes. This means that a specific public health intervention has benefits other than the direct medical reduction in mortality: it affects the incentives to fight other diseases so the overall reduction in mortality will, in general, be larger than that predicted by the direct medical effects. We discuss evidence of these cross-disease effects by using data on neo-natal tetanus vaccination through the Expanded Programme on Immunization of the World Health Organization.

Suggested Citation

Dow, William H. and Holmes, Jessica and Philipson, Tomas J. and Sala-i-Martin, Francesc Xavier, Disease Complementarities and the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions (August 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5216. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225280

William H. Dow

Yale University - Department of Economics

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

Jessica Holmes

Yale University - Department of Economics

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

Tomas J. Philipson (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

Graduate School of Business
1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Francesc Xavier Sala-i-Martin

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-7055 (Phone)

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