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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Drug Involvement in Fatal Overdoses

Death certificate data from the Multiple Cause of Death (MCOD) files were analyzed to better understand the drug categories most responsible for the increase in fatal overdoses occurring between 1999 and 2014. Statistical adjustment methods were used to account for the understatement in reported drug involvement occurring because death certificates frequently do not specify which drugs were involved in the deaths.

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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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Paid Family Leave, Fathers’ Leave-Taking, and Leave-Sharing in Dual-Earner Households

Authors: Christopher J. Ruhm, Ann P. Bartel, Maya Rossin-Slater, Jenna Stearns, Jane Waldfogel

Using difference‐in‐difference and difference‐in‐difference‐in‐difference designs, we study California’s Paid Family Leave (CA‐PFL) program, the first source of government‐provided paid parental leave available to fathers in the Unites States. Relative to the pre‐treatment mean, fathers of infants in California are 46 percent more likely to be on leave when CA‐PFL is available. 

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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 Changing Benefits of Early Work Experience

Authors: Christopher J. Ruhm, Charles L. Baum

We examine whether the benefits of high school work experience have changed over the last 20 years by comparing effects for the 1979 and 1997 cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Our main specifications suggest that the future annual earnings benefits of working 20 h per week in the senior year of high school have fallen from 17.4% for the earlier cohort, measured in 1987–1989, to 12.1% for the later cohort, in 2008–2010.

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Air Pollution and Procyclical Mortality

Authors: Christopher J. Ruhm, Garth Heutel

Prior research demonstrates that mortality rates increase during economic booms and decrease during economic busts, but little is known about the role of environmental risks as a potential mechanism for this relationship. We investigate the contribution of air pollution to the procyclicality of deaths by combining county-level data on overall, cause-specific, and age-specific mortality rates with county-level measures of ambient concentrations of three types of pollutants and the unemployment rate.

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