DP1283 Death, Tetanus and Aerobics: The Evaluation of Disease-Specific Health Interventions

Author(s): Jessica Holmes, Tomas Philipson, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Olli Tahvonen
Publication Date: November 1995
Keyword(s): Complementarities, Disease-Specific Public Health Interventions, Endogenous Mortality, Tetanus Programmes
JEL(s): I0, I1
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=1283

This paper provides a theoretical and empirical investigation of the positive complementarities between disease-specific policies introduced by competing risks of mortality. The incentive to invest in prevention against one cause of death depends positively on the level of survival from other causes. This means that a specific public health intervention has benefits other than the direct medical reduction in mortality: it affects the incentives to fight other diseases so the overall reduction in mortality will, in general, be larger than that predicted by the direct medical effects. We discuss evidence of these cross-disease effects by using data on neonatal tetanus vaccination through the Expanded Programme on Immunization of the World Health Organization.