Getting Urgent Health Care in Time: The Impact of China’s Poverty Alleviation Program
with Xiaoyan Lei and Ang Sun, under review
This paper estimates the impact of the 8-7 National Plan for Poverty Reduction, a large-scale poverty alleviation program in China during 1994–2000, on the mortality rate from cerebrovascular diseases. The rollout of the program after 1994 was mainly based on whether the average income per capita of a county fell below a certain cutoff, which allows for the design of a combination regression discontinuity and difference-in-differences approach. Using data collected from the National Disease Surveillance Points system, the analysis suggests that the poverty alleviation program decreased the cerebrovascular disease mortality rate by at least 28.0%l, which is mainly attributed to the construction of local health centers under the poverty alleviation program. The analysis finds that the reduction in mortality was mostly due to fewer deaths at home. Other aspects of the program, such as road construction, also likely played a part in the reduction in mortality from cerebrovascular diseases.
How Much Does Government’s Short-Term Response Matter for The Spread of COVID-19?
with Gordon Guoen Liu, Xiaoyun Peng, and Junjian Yi, 1st round Revise & Resubmit
Objective: We study the predetermined characteristics of countries in addition to their government nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to shed light on the determinants of the variations in COVID-19 transmission outcomes across countries.
Methods and Analysis: We conduct a systematic investigation of the validity of government responses in 85 countries by gradually adding the predetermined cultural, natural, and socioeconomic factors of each country using a fixed-effect model and daily panel data. A relative importance analysis is conducted to isolate the contribution of each variable to the R-squared of the model.
Results: Government NPIs are effective in containing the virus spread and explain approximately 10% of the variations in the pandemic outcomes. COVID-19 is more prevalent in countries that are more individual-oriented or with a higher GDP per capita, while a country’s current BCG vaccination policy, government expenditure on health as a proportion of GDP, and median age are negatively associated with the infection outcome. The SARS-CoV-2 lifecycle and the impacts of other unobserved factors together explain almost half of the variation in the prevalence of COVID-19 across countries. The degree of individualism explains 6.18% of the variation, and the explanatory power of the other socioeconomic determinants is less than 3% each.
Conclusion: Our findings confirm that the stronger or faster the government responses, the lower the level of infections. Various factors underpin the variation in the control of COVID-19. Without taking country-specific conditions into account, it is highly likely to overestimate the impact of the NPIs.
Do Actual Caregivers Meet Expectations? Motivation, Behavior, and Impacts of Informal Care to Parents
with Yaohui Zhao
This study aims to investigate the gap between expected and actual caregivers of parents in need of care and its impact on care receivers. Using panel data from the four waves of the nationally-representative China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), we employ a family fixed-effects linear probability model to examine the characteristics of expected and actual caregivers of individuals aged 45 and above who experienced functional impairment between 2011 and 2018. Our results suggest that 38.44% of men and 41.79% of women have at least one actual caregiver who met their earlier expectations. Regarding caregivers, the division of labor among siblings for supporting parents through economic transfer and in-person care depends on their opportunity cost of caring. Children who are not actual caregivers of their parents are more likely to provide economic support. Our findings imply that parents’ behaviors toward economic support align more with the altruism motivation, whereas their behavior toward providing care aligns more with the exchange motivation. Furthermore, women who reside in self-owned properties may have greater leverage in selecting their preferred caregivers. As a result, being taken care of by expected caregivers significantly enhances parents’ positive emotions toward life, especially for women.
Life Expectancy, Population Ageing, and Economic Growth (预期寿命、人口老龄化与经济增长)
with Nan Xiao (与肖楠合作)
To investigate the impact of increased life expectancy on economic growth and its mechanism, this paper develops a growth model that captures
human capital and physical capital accumulation, in which life expectancy depends on the government’s health investment and contributes to the utility function. Using panel data from 127 countries over 1970-2019, this paper discovers that the increased life expectancy is positively correlated with the growth rates of human capital and physical capital, and the latter is especially salient in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Further research by periods reveals that since 1985, only low- and lower-middle-income countries benefited from the increased life expectancy in terms of GDP per capita growth rate, and it became a restrictive factor of economic growth for high- and upper-middle-income countries after 2000. Meanwhile, population aging slows down economic growth in general, but it contributes to the proportion of tertiary industry in GDP.