3 May 2019

Torben Heien Nielsen in American Economic Review

The American Economic Review accepts for publication the paper “Family Health Behaviors” by Torben Heien Nielsen and Itzik Fadlon (UCSD).

QUARTZ nominated the working paper version of the same work as one of the most intriguing research results of 2018. The nominating researcher, Emily Oster from Brown University motivated her nomination with these words:

“The authors exploit a novel data source to look at how our choices about health care are influenced by what is happening around us—with our family, and even our co-workers. It challenges our standard notion of how people think about their own health behavior choices.”  

Read the full article in QUARTZ

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.

Read the research paper here.