Torben Heien Nielsen and Itzik Fadlon's paper Family Health Behavior
The working paper version of the same work was nominated by QUARTZ as one of the most intriguing research results of 2018 and the paper has now been published in the American Economic Review.
We study how health behaviors are shaped through family spillovers. We leverage administrative data to identify the effects of health shocks on family members' consumption of preventive care and health-related behaviors, constructing counterfactuals for affected households using households that experience the same shock but a few years in the future. Spouses and adult children immediately improve their health behaviors and their responses are both significant and persistent. These spillovers are far-reaching as they cascade even to coworkers. While some responses are consistent with learning information about one's own health, the evidence points to salience as a major operative explanation.