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How Robust are Health Rankings? Testing Different Assumptions about Weights and Aggregation | Research Colloquium

Contributed by: Tamara Estep
Published: Wednesday, 09 April 2014 8:00 AM
MILLER COLLEGE RESEARCH COLLOQUIUM

How Robust are Health Rankings? Testing Different Assumptions about Weights and Aggregation

12:00 - 1:30 p.m., Monday, April 21, 2014
Whitinger Building room 145, Hall of Fame Conference Room

RSVP before Monday, April 14th to Jennifer Keever at bizdean@bsu.edu

Presented by Erik Nesson
Assistant Professor of Economics

How Robust are Health Rankings? Testing Different Assumptions about Weights and Aggregation
This paper develops a new method for the measurement of population health and the ranking of the health of different geographies. Since population health is a latent variable, studies which measure and rank the health of different geographies must aggregate observable attributes of health into one summary measure. We show that the methods used in nearly all the literature to date implicitly assume that all attributes are infinitely substitutable. Our method, based on aggregation functions used in the measurement of multidimensional welfare and inequality, minimizes the entropic distance between the summary measure of population health and the distribution of the underlying. This aggregation function coincides with well-known Constant Elasticity of Substitution and Cobb-Douglas production functions and naturally allows different assumptions regarding attribute substitutability or complementarity. To compare methodologies, we utilize a well-known ranking of the health status of U.S. states, America's Health Rankings. We find that states' rankings are somewhat sensitive to changes in the weight given to each attribute, but very sensitive to changes in aggregation methodology. Our results have broad implications for well-known ranks of national health care systems, such as the 2000 World Health Report, as well as the measurement of health inequality.

About Erik Nesson
Erik Nesson, assistant professor of economics, received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2012 and joined Ball State University in the same year. His research interests include health economics, applied microeconometrics, law and economics, and labor economics. Nesson’s current projects include examining the effects of tobacco control policies on smoking behaviors, measuring the causal relationship between substance use and risky sexual behaviors, and examining the measurement of aggregate health and its use in policy evaluation.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Miller College Research Colloquia Series 2014

Date | Presenter
All colloquia are scheduled for 12:00 p.m. and
meet in Whitinger Building, room 145

April 23, Wednesday| Marcus Wolfe
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