Petra Persson, Stanford

ג', 12/06/2018 - 12:30 עד 14:00

חדר 4212

(The Roots of Inequality and the Value of Intra-family Expertise (joint with Maria Polyakova and Yiqun Chen


Abstract: Mounting evidence points to a stark correlation
        between income and health, yet the causal mechanisms behind this
        gradient are poorly understood. This paper examines the impact
        of information on health, and whether differential access to
        information contributes to the health-income gradient. Our
        empirical setting, Sweden, allows us to shut down differences in
        formal access to health care, and to leverage population-wide
        tax data linked to birth and medical records. First, we document
        strong socioeconomic gradients in mortality and health; the
        health gradient emerges in early childhood and steepens over
        time. Second, we study the effect of a particular type of
        information -- the presence of a medical doctor or nurse in the
        family -- on a set of health outcomes, using event studies and
        exploiting "admissions lotteries" into medical schools. A
        medical professional in the extended family prolongs older
        generations' life span and reduces their likelihood of suffering
        from a heart attack or diabetes; further, younger generations
        are less likely to consume drugs treating ADHD or depression,
        and more likely to be vaccinated. Third, we show that the poor
        respond the most to information, but also face the greatest
        information scarcity. The interaction between poverty and access
        to information about health and health care may play a
        significant role in sustaining health inequality.