After Myriad, What Types of Claim Amendments Change a Patent Ineligible Isolated Gene Claim Into an Eligible Patent Claim That Is ‘Markedly Different’ From Nature?

May 29, 2018

Using a novel research method, this paper examines the types of claim amendments that have transformed isolated gene claims from patent-ineligible into eligible subject matter. It also provides clarity into the threshold of eligibility for gene-related patents.

via After Myriad, What Types of Claim Amendments Change a Patent Ineligible Isolated Gene Claim Into an Eligible Patent Claim That Is ‘Markedly Different’ From Nature? by Mateo Aboy, Johnathon Liddicoat, Kathleen Liddell, Matthew Jordan, Cristina Crespo :: SSRN


Estimating the Effects of Subsidized School Meals on Child Health: Evidence from the Community Eligibility Provision in Georgia Schools

May 29, 2018

For many children in the United States, school meals represent a vital source of reliable and nutritious food. Utilizing variation caused by the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) in Georgia schools, we estimate models of school-level child health measured by the percentage of healthy weight children and average Body Mass Index (BMI) score. CEP eligibility is used as an instrument for CEP participation and the percentage of students enrolled in free and reduced-price school lunches, as well as in the reduced form. We find that CEP participation increases the percentage of healthy weight students in a school and reduces average BMI. We find no statistically significant evidence to support a deleterious effect from either the CEP or free school meals on child health outcomes. Subsample analyses suggest that that the effect of school meals on health varies across grade and location type, with no effect on high schools or rural schools.

via Estimating the Effects of Subsidized School Meals on Child Health: Evidence from the Community Eligibility Provision in Georgia Schools by Will Davis, Tareena Musaddiq :: SSRN


Paternalistic Taxation of Unhealthy Food and the Intensive Versus Extensive Margin of Obesity

May 29, 2018

This paper shows that if an individual’s health costs are U-shaped in weight with a minimum at some healthy weight level and if the individual has both self control problems and rational motives for over- or underweight, the optimal paternalistic tax on unhealthy food mitigates the individual’s weight problem (intensive margin), but does not induce the individual to choose healthy weight (extensive margin). Implementing healthy weight requires a further distortion (e.g. subsidy on other goods), which may render the tax on unhealthy food inferior to the option of not taxing the individual at all. In addition, with heterogeneous individuals the optimal uniform paternalistic tax may have the negative side effect of rendering otherwise healthy individuals underweight.

via Paternalistic Taxation of Unhealthy Food and the Intensive Versus Extensive Margin of Obesity by Zarko Yordanov Kalamov, Marco Runkel :: SSRN


Perverse Incentives: Why Everyone Prefers High Drug Prices — Except for Those Who Pay the Bills

May 29, 2018

Health care spending rarely follows an ordinary, rational model. Yet even in that context, prescription drug prices are rising at a puzzling rate. What is causing the phenomenon? Quite simply, incentives percolating throughout the prescription drug market push players toward higher prices. At the center, lies the highly secretive and concentrated PBM industry — middle players who negotiate between drug companies and health insurers, arranging for rebates and establishing coverage levels for patients.

Contracts between drug companies and the middle players are closely guarded secrets. The PBM customers, including Medicare, private insurers, and even their auditors, are not permitted access to the terms. And the middle players are not alone; everyone is feeding at the trough.

Markets, like gardens, grow best in the sun; they wither without information. Thus, competitive distortions and suboptimal outcomes are unsurprising.

Despite the extreme secrecy, details have begun to seep out — through case documents (including recent contract disputes among parties), government reports, shareholder disclosures, and industry insider reports. Piecing together these sources, this article presents a picture of incentive structures in which higher-priced drugs receive favorable treatment, and patients are channeled towards more expensive medicines. In exchange for financial incentives structured in different ways to appeal to hospitals, insurers, doctors, and even patient advocacy groups, drug companies ensure that lower-priced substitutes cannot gain a foothold. It is a win-win for everyone, except of course for taxpayers and society. This article also analyzes popular proposals that are unlikely to work and suggests approaches for aligning incentives.

via Perverse Incentives: Why Everyone Prefers High Drug Prices — Except for Those Who Pay the Bills by Robin Feldman :: SSRN


Restoring Vision to Consumers and Competition to the Marketplace: Analyzing the Effects of Required Prescription Release

May 29, 2018

Occupational licensing laws can allow professionals to extract rents in the marketplace. In the case of vision services, optometrists have the authority to write prescriptions for contact lenses. Optometrists may choose to conceal this information and force patients to purchase lenses from the professional writing the prescription—resulting in vendor lock-in. In this paper, we investigate the possible effect of the 2004 Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) on the market for vision services by examining state differences in prescription release mandates before 2004. We find that requiring professionals to release prescription information to patients resulted in a 10 to 11 percent reduction in the wages of optometrists. Our results provide some evidence that the FCLCA may have increased consumer welfare by reducing the prices of contact lenses or increasing access to contact lenses.

via Restoring Vision to Consumers and Competition to the Marketplace: Analyzing the Effects of Required Prescription Release by Edward Timmons, Conor Norris :: SSRN


Social Determinants of mHealth Effectiveness: Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment

May 29, 2018

mHealth holds great promise to promote health and improve care. However, most mHealth treatments failed to achieve a significant impact on clinical outcomes, and there is surprisingly little knowledge of factors that affect mHealth effectiveness. This study examines mHealth effectiveness from a social determinant perspective. We leverage one of the world’s largest field experiments on improving the health of expectant mothers and reducing cesarean sections. We hypothesize that the husband, as one of the most significant social factors, can be an important moderator in mHealth effectiveness. Our analyses show that the husband’s healthy behavior is pivotal to enable mHealth in reducing cesarean sections. The cesarean section reduction in the strongest intervention group is 12 times bigger for those wives whose husbands exercise often that those whose husbands do not exercise. Further analyses reveal that the husband exercise behavior has a stronger influence on mHealth effectiveness when the husband has a more dominating socioeconomic status. Our findings represent one of the first studies on the critical role of social support in determining mHealth effectiveness, which has important implications to both academic research and practice of mHealth.

via Social Determinants of mHealth Effectiveness: Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment by Weiguang Wang, Yanfang Su, Guodong (Gordon) Gao :: SSRN


Declining Teen Employment: Minimum Wages, Other Explanations, and Implications for Human Capital Investment

May 29, 2018

We explore the decline in teen employment in the United States since 2000, which was sharpest for those age 16–17. We consider three explanatory factors: a rising minimum wage that could reduce employment opportunities for teens and potentially increase the value of investing in schooling; rising returns to schooling; and increasing competition from immigrants that, like the minimum wage, could reduce employment opportunities and raise the returns to human capital investment. We find that higher minimum wages are the predominant factor explaining changes in the schooling and workforce behavior of those age 16–17 since 2000. We also consider implications for human capital. Higher minimum wages have led both to fewer teens in school and employed at the same time, and to more teens in school but not employed, which is potentially consistent with a greater focus on schooling. We find no evidence that higher minimum wages have led to greater human capital investment. If anything, the evidence points to adverse effects on longer-run earnings for those exposed to these higher minimum wages as teenagers.

via Declining Teen Employment: Minimum Wages, Other Explanations, and Implications for Human Capital Investment by David Neumark, Cortnie Shupe :: SSRN