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Tag Archives: health

Life-cycle benefits of early childhood programs: evidence from an influential early childhood program

Summary There is a substantial body of evidence showing that early childhood programs can boost the skills of disadvantaged children. Most of this research has evaluated the short-run ‘treatment effects’ of these programs, focusing on outcomes such as cognitive test scores, school readiness, and measures of social behavior. So far, few studies have analyzed longer-term effects such as completed...

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The First 2,000 Days: Investing in Children’s Skills Through Early Intervention

Summary Children from poorer backgrounds typically have lower cognitive and socio-emotional skills due to differences in the quality of the environment they live in, and these early differences can feed into worse health, education and labor market outcomes later in life. Existing research suggests that these inequalities can be reduced through targeted early childhood intervention programs. Most of the...

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The flu normal?

Over at Newsroom (drafted before the first case here was confirmed), I worry about what happens if Covid-19 isn't a one-off but a new normal with a regular season, like the flu season, that comes each year. Policy designed around a one-off might be different than policy designed around something that will recur annually and that will require annual preventative measures.In both cases, measures to reduce the peak load will save a lot of lives: New Zealand's health system is too easily...

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Sound advice – if we’ll take it.

Some sound-looking advice at Foreign Policy on the coming pandemic. During the SARS epidemic, I traveled all over China and Hong Kong, interviewed people infected with the virus, doctors and nurses treating the disease, government officials, police—everybody. I was never concerned that I would become infected, despite being in the room with sick individuals. And that’s because I knew what precautions to take. Here are the most important ones to know:1. When you leave your home, wear...

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A healthy puzzle – PHARMAC and health insurance

Here are a collection of stylised facts about health insurance in New Zealand. At least I think they're stylised facts. Call them Eric's perhaps-incorrect understanding of the world.Together, I wonder if they make sense.The public health system covers a lot of stuff, and PHARMAC subsidises the most cost-effective drugs; There are lots of newer drugs that PHARMAC doesn't subsidise. It can take a while for drugs to be registered with MedSafe for use in New Zealand, it can take a while for a...

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Things our civil service needs to be told

The Government has produced a "Guide for Maintaining Health and Wellbeing". It contains a lot of valuable advice. I understand it has been distributed broadly in hard copy, but it is available online for the rest of us.Here is some of the advice provided. It is comprehensive.At page 118, it provides helpful tips for waking up. After you wake up, you might want to tend to your emotional and physical health. I'd thought that the absolute safest might have involved only one person, but I...

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Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders

The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake.But it sure isn't the way I'd do it.National's suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren't keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working for Families, but that appears more controversial.We can go back to first principles and note that there's a reasonable case for government intervention to encourage vaccination - as I...

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Public health, externality, and vaccination

Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I've heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There's a clear market failure that could be pointed to in any sound Regulatory Impact Statement.In a place with relatively high vaccination rates, the primary benefit from your getting vaccinated goes to other...

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When Fewer Options are Better for Consumers: The Benefits of Narrow Health Insurance Networks

Summary Should health insurers be required to allow their enrollees to visit any hospital or doctor?  Many insurers limit enrollees to “in-network” medical providers, forcing them to pay significant “out-of-network” costs if they seek care elsewhere. Our research examines the role that limited medical provider networks play in the U.S. commercial healthcare market and measures both their impact on...

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Mind Fixers

The Spinoff has a superb piece by Danyl McLauchlan reviewing Anne Harrington's Mind Fixers. Thomas Szasz makes an appearance. A snippet: In January of 1973 the psychologist David Rosenhan published an article in Science, one of the world’s most influential academic journals, titled ‘On Being Sane in Insane Places’. He’d conducted an experiment in which eight people (including himself) presented to twelve different psychiatric hospitals across the US, complaining of audible hallucinations:...

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