NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Katsuhiko Nishiyama

Mizuho Information & Research Institute
Japan

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2017Is Preventive Care Worth the Cost? Evidence from Mandatory Checkups in Japan
with Toshiaki Iizuka, Brian Chen, Karen Eggleston: w23413
Using unique individual-level panel data, we investigate whether preventive medical care triggered by health checkups is worth the cost. We exploit the fact that biomarkers just below and above a threshold may be viewed as random. We find that people respond to health signals and increase physician visits. However, we find no evidence that additional care is cost effective. For the “borderline type” (“pre-diabetes”) threshold for diabetes, medical care utilization increases but neither physical measures nor predicted risks of mortality or serious complications improve. For efficient use of medical resources, cost effectiveness of preventive care must be carefully examined.
 
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