NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Susan Stewart

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Working Papers

October 2014The Contribution of Behavior Change and Public Health to Improved U.S. Population Health
with David M. Cutler: w20631
Adverse behavioral risk factors contribute to a large share of deaths. We examine the effects on life expectancy (LE) and quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) of changes in six major behavioral risk factors over the 1960-2010 period: smoking, obesity, heavy alcohol use, and unsafe use of motor vehicles, firearms, and poisonous substances. These risk factors have moved in opposite directions. Reduced smoking, safer driving and cars, and reduced heavy alcohol use have led to health improvements, which we estimate at 1.82 years of quality-adjusted life. However, these were roughly offset by increased obesity, greater firearm deaths, and increased deaths from poisonous substances, which together reduced quality-adjusted life expectancy by 1.77 years. We model the hypothetical effects of a ...
May 2005A Proposed Method for Monitoring U.S. Population Health: Linking Symptoms, Impairments, and Health Ratings
with Rebecca M. Woodward, Allison B. Rosen, David M. Cutler: w11358
We propose a method of quantifying non-fatal health on a 0-1 QALY scale that details the impact of specific symptoms and impairments and is not based on ratings of counterfactual scenarios. Measures of general health status are regressed on health impairments and symptoms in different domains, using ordered probit and ordinary least squares regression. This yields estimates of their effects analogous to disutility weights, and accounts for complex non-additive relationships. Health measures used include self-rated health status on a 5-point scale, EuroQol 5D (EQ-5D) scores, and ratings of current health using a 0-100 rating scale and a time-tradeoff. Data are from the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) year 2002 (N=34,615), with validation in an independent s...

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