NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Jose M. Fernandez

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Working Papers

July 2012The Effect of an Increase in Autism Prevalence on the Demand for Auxiliary Healthcare Workers: Evidence from California
with Dhaval M. Dave: w18238
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication, and restricted or repetitive behaviors. This previously rare condition has dramatically increased in prevalence from 0.5 in 1000 children during the 1970s to 11.3 in 1000 children in 2008. Using data from the California Department of Developmental Services, we study how changes in the number of autism cases at each of the 21 regional development centers affected local wages and quantity of auxiliary health providers. We focus on this subset of health providers because, unlike physicians and psychologists who can diagnose autism, these workers cannot induce their own demand. If the incidence of autism is increasing independently of other mental disorders, then the demand for auxiliary hea...

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