Time Preferences and Consumer Behavior

Authors: Christopher J. Ruhm, David Bradford, Charles Courtemanche, Garth Heutel, Patrick McAlvanah

We investigate the predictive power of survey-elicited time preferences. The discount factor elicited from choice experiments using real payments predicts various health, energy, and financial outcomes, including overall self-reported health, smoking, installing energy-efficient lighting, and credit card balance. 

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Macroeconomic Conditions and Opioid Abuse

Authors: Christopher J. Ruhm, Alex Hollingsworth, Kosali Simon

We examine how deaths and emergency department (ED) visits related to use of opioid analgesics (opioids) and other drugs vary with macroeconomic conditions. As the county unemployment rate increases by one percentage point, the opioid death rate per 100,000 rises by 0.19 (3.6%) and the opioid overdose ED visit rate per 100,000 increases by 0.95 (7.0%).

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Health Effects of Economic Crises

This analysis summarizes prior research and uses national, US state and county‐level data from 1976 to 2013 to examine whether the mortality effects of economic crises differ in kind from those of the more typical fluctuations. The tentative conclusion is that economic crises affect mortality rates (and presumably other measures of health) in the same way as less severe downturns – leading to improvements in physical health.

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The Economics of Risky Behaviors

Authors: Christopher J. Ruhm, Cawley J., Thomas G. McGuire, Mark V. Pauly, Pedro Pita Barros (eds.)

Risky health behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, drug use, unprotected sex, and poor diets and sedentary lifestyles (leading to obesity) are a major source of preventable deaths. This chapter overviews the theoretical frameworks for, and empirical evidence on, the economics of risky health behaviors. 

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