NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Family Health Behaviors

Itzik Fadlon, Torben Heien Nielsen

NBER Working Paper No. 24042
Issued in November 2017, Revised in December 2017
NBER Program(s):Aging, Health Care, Health Economics, Labor Studies, Public Economics

This paper studies how health behaviors and investments are shaped through family spillovers. Leveraging administrative healthcare data, we identify the effects of health shocks to individuals on their family members' consumption of preventive care and health-related behaviors. Our identification strategy utilizes the timing of shocks to construct counterfactuals for affected households using households that experience the same shock but a few years in the future. We find that spouses and adult children immediately increase their health investments and improve their health behaviors in response to family shocks, and that these effects are both significant and persistent. Notably, we show that these spillover effects are far-reaching and cascade to siblings, stepchildren, sons and daughters in-law, and even “close” coworkers. While some responses are consistent with learning new information about one's own health, evidence from cases where shocks are likely uninformative points to salience as a major operative explanation. Our results underscore the importance of one's family and social network for models of health behaviors and have potential implications for policies that aim to improve population health.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24042

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Einav and Finkelstein w24055 Moral Hazard in Health Insurance: What We Know and How We Know It
Chandra and Staiger w24035 Identifying Sources of Inefficiency in Health Care
Fadlon and Nielsen w21352 Family Labor Supply Responses to Severe Health Shocks
Chen, Oliva, and Zhang w24036 The Effect of Air Pollution on Migration: Evidence from China
Allcott, Diamond, and Dubé w24094 The Geography of Poverty and Nutrition: Food Deserts and Food Choices Across the United States
 
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