NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of Biomedical Research on U.S. Cancer Mortality: A Bibliometric Analysis

Frank R. Lichtenberg


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Measuring and Modeling Health Care Costs, Ana Aizcorbe, Colin Baker, Ernst Berndt, and David Cutler, editors
Conference held October 18-19, 2013
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press
in NBER Book Series Studies in Income and Wealth

I examine the relationship across diseases between the long-run growth in the number of publications about a disease and the change in the mortality rate from the disease. The diseases analyzed are almost all the different forms of cancer, i.e. cancer at different sites in the body (lung, colon, breast, etc.). The National Cancer Institute publishes annual data on cancer incidence as well as on cancer mortality, by cancer site. Failure to control for the growth in incidence (which it is not feasible to do for non-cancer diseases) may bias estimates of the effect of publication growth towards zero, because growth in the number of publications is positively correlated across diseases with growth in incidence.

Time-series data on the number of publications pertaining to each cancer site were obtained from PubMed. For articles published since 1975, it is possible to distinguish between publications indicating and not indicating any research funding support.

My estimates indicate that mortality rates: (1) are unrelated to the (current or lagged) stock of publications that had not received research funding; (2) are only weakly inversely related to the contemporaneous stock of published articles that received research funding; and (3) are strongly inversely related to the stock of articles that had received research funding and been published 5 and 10 years earlier. The effect after 10 years is 66% larger than the contemporaneous effect. The strong inverse correlation between mortality growth and growth in the lagged number of publications that were supported by research funding is not driven by a small number of outliers.

download in pdf format
   (381 K)

email paper

This paper was revised on October 13, 2016

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w19593, The Impact of Biomedical Knowledge Accumulation on Mortality: A Bibliometric Analysis of Cancer Data, Frank R. Lichtenberg
Users who downloaded this chapter also downloaded these:
Lichtenberg w18235 Pharmaceutical Innovation and Longevity Growth in 30 Developing and High-income Countries, 2000-2009
Lichtenberg w19593 The Impact of Biomedical Knowledge Accumulation on Mortality: A Bibliometric Analysis of Cancer Data
Chansky, Garner, and Raichoudhary Measuring Output and Productivity in Private Hospitals
Lichtenberg w18552 The Effect of Pharmaceutical Innovation on Longevity: Patient-Level Evidence from the 1996-2002 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and Linked Mortality Public-Use Files
Liebman Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us