Health Investment over the Life-Cycle

We quantify what drives the rise in medical expenditures over the life-cycle using a stochastic dynamic overlapping generations model of health investment. Three motives for health investment are considered. First, health delivers a flow of utility each period (the consumption motive). Second, better health enables people to allocate more time to productive or pleasurable activities (the investment motive). Third, better health improves survival prospects (the survival motive). We find that, overall, the consumption motive plays a dominant role, whereas the investment motive is more important than the consumption and survival motives until the forties. The survival motive is quantitatively less important when compared to the other two motives. We also conduct a series of counter-factual policy experiments to investigate how government policies impacting health insurance coverage, Social Security, and health care technological progress affect the behavior of medical expenditures, and social welfare.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) welcomes online comments to stories that are posted on our website or social media pages. Comments are intended to be a forum for open, respectful, and family-friendly discussion. UHERO reserves the right to remove anything posted on our website or social media pages that is deemed inappropriate. All comments are moderated and will therefore have a delayed post time.
Some guidelines (not an exhaustive list) we use when moderating/approving comments include:

  • Do not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
  • Do not post content that is hateful, threatening or wildly off-topic; or do anything unlawful, malicious, discriminatory or defamatory.
  • Observe confidentiality laws at all times.
  • Do not post spam or advertisements.
  • Observe fair use, copyright and disclosure laws.
  • Do not use vulgar language or profanity.

UHERO may amend this policy from time to time.