Angela Devine’s journal round-up for 28th September 2020

Every Monday our authors provide a round-up of the latest peer-reviewed journal publications. We cover all issues of major health economics journals as well as some other notable releases. If you’d like to write one of our weekly journal round-ups, get in touch.

Journal of Public Economics

Volume 189

The Journal of Public Economics produced a special issue on ‘The Public Economics of COVID-19’, which aimed to provide a quick process for publishing short papers in economics. The issue has six articles addressing a range of topics, with five of these relevant to health. The editorial promised that more are in the pipeline.

Four studies were focused on employment with links to health and healthcare. A study on labor demand in the US showed decreases in job creation and employment across all sectors in April, including healthcare. Another paper examined how shutdown policies impacted unemployment, arguing that these costs could be weighed against the public health effectiveness of the policies. A third study looked at how many jobs can be done at home, pointing out that those who can work from home tend to be better paid, which could exacerbate inequalities. While this study focused on the US, it plots the share of jobs that can be done at home against the per capita income for other countries. A final study looked at inequality in job losses in workers in Germany, the US, and the UK. Workers in Germany were less likely to be impacted, while women and those with less education were more likely to be affected.

Rounding off the studies related to health is a sobering read on domestic violence, another area where we are seeing increased costs due to COVID-19. This study reports that calls to police in the US were up by 7.5% from March to May and that this rise was driven by households that did not have a recent history of domestic violence.

Health Economics Review

Volume 10, August 2020

Health Economics Review published three articles in August. The first sought to explain variations in efficiency in public hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I hadn’t previously read anything describing the healthcare system in Saudi Arabia, and I was interested to see that hospitals with a higher proportion of patients with infectious diseases achieved higher efficiency scores. The authors point out that this is likely due to the shorter time needed for treatment of infectious diseases. Populations with higher levels of infectious diseases often have higher poverty levels, and I was surprised to read that one of the challenges for the authors was finding data on poverty for Saudi Arabia.

The second is a systematic review of patient and health systems costs associated with pregnancy and a range of complications in sub-Saharan Africa. The final article compared the costs for patients with HIV and patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) in Italy. Healthcare provider costs were higher for HIV/HCV co-infected patients even after removing the cost of HCV medications.

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