A cool paper on the impact of maternal health on child health, by Leah Bevis and Kira Villa, is now forthcoming in the Journal of Human Resources. I’ve had the opportunity to see this paper presented by both Leah and Kira at multiple conferences over the last few years. It really is excellent work by two very talented economists.
The headline result is that a mother’s health impacts their child’s health throughout childhood. Thus, previous estimates of the transmission rate of maternal health on child health at a single point in time underestimate the full effect.
A couple weekends ago, my department (Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota) hosted the Midwest International Economic Development Conference (MIEDC). It is a smaller conference with tremendous quality of presentations. Despite this, many are not able to attend the conference or even all of the sessions. As a service to those interested, a few colleagues and I posted a recap of the 2018 MIEDC on the Economics That Really Matters blog.
I recently finished reading a fascinating book entitled Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. The most basic idea behind the book is everything matters. Humans are constantly influenced unconsciously by seemingly trivial details. Put simply we are always being “nudged”. This book aims to harness the ways humans are nudged and use “choice architecture” in increase our quality of life.
The book begins by outlining some of the ways humans make decisions. Using insights from the growing field of behavioral economics, the authors explain how the vast majority of humans fail to follow the rules of rational choice theory in economics. Understanding these insights is paramount to understanding how humans make decisions and how to help humans make better decisions. (If these details sound interesting to you, read the book or take a microeconomics class, I am not going to take the time to outline them here.)
I will jump to some of the unique ideas proposed in this book about how to solve some of our world’s most complex and pressing challenges. As you will see choice architecture, seems to introduce interesting and innovative ideas for families, business people, and policy makers to consider.