NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Much Ado About Two: Reconsidering Retransformation and the Two-Part Model in Health Economics

John Mullahy

NBER Technical Working Paper No. 228
Issued in March 1998

In health economics applications involving outcomes (y) and covariates (x), it is often the case that the central inferential problems of interest involve E[y|x] and its associated partial effects or elasticities. Many such outcomes have two fundamental statistical properties: yĆ²0; and the outcome y=0 is observed with sufficient frequency that the zeros cannot be ignored econometrically. Common approaches to estimation in such instances include Tobit, selection, and two-part models. This paper (1) describes circumstances where the standard two-part model with homoskedastic retransformation will fail to provide consistent inferences about important policy parameters; and (2) demonstrates some alternative approaches that are likely to prove helpful in applications.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/t0228

Published: Mullahy, John. "Much Ado Abut Two: Reconsidering Retransformation And The Two-Part Model In Health Econometrics," Journal of Health Economics, 1998, v17(3,Jun), 247-281.

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