Highlights 2019

WP 19/01

In “A nonlinear dynamic factor model of health and medical treatment” Franco Peracchi, with Claudio Rossetti, investigates the relationship between health and medical treatment and proposes a methodology which overcomes endogeneity problems. The authors set up and estimate a tractable dynamic factor model where observed health outcomes are driven by the individual's latent health stock. The dynamics of latent health reflects both exogenous health depreciation and endogenous health investments. The model allows for the investigation of the effect of medical treatment on current health, as well as on future medical treatment and health outcomes. The model is estimated by maximum simulated likelihood and minimum distance methods using a rich longitudinal data set from Italy. The data include detailed information on medical drug use, hospitalization, and mortality for a representative sample of elderly hypertensive patients. The results show that medical drug use significantly contributes to preventing future worsening of health. These findings suggest that policies aimed at increasing the awareness and the compliance of hypertensive patients help to reduce cardiovascular risks, consequent hospitalization and mortality.

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