An Hour of Running May Add 7 Hours to Your Life – The New York Times

April 13, 2017

an hour of running statistically lengthens life expectancy by seven hours, the researchers report.

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How Do Informational Prompts Affect Choices in the School Lunchroom? by Chien-Yu Lai, John A. List, Anya Savikhin Samek :: SSRN

March 6, 2017

Obesity rates have doubled in the last forty years, and a major cause is the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. In this paper, we identify channels through which information – about health benefits or taste – affects beverage choice. We conduct a field experiment in a school lunchroom with 2,500 children, evaluating the impact of informational prompts on beverage choice and consumption over 2 weeks. We find that prompts alone increase the proportion of children choosing and consuming the healthier white milk relative to sugar-sweetened chocolate milk from 20% in the control group to 30% in the treatment groups. Adding health or taste messaging to the prompt does not seem to make a difference. We survey students and find that most prompts affect perceived healthfulness of the milk, but not perceived taste. Finally, we find that the prompts are nearly as effective as a small non-monetary incentive.

Source: How Do Informational Prompts Affect Choices in the School Lunchroom? by Chien-Yu Lai, John A. List, Anya Savikhin Samek :: SSRN


Empty Discarded Pack Data and the Prevalence of Illicit Trade in Cigarettes by Alberto Aziani, Jonathan Kulick, Neill Norman, James E. Prieger :: SSRN

February 12, 2017

Illicit trade in tobacco products (ITTP) is big business in the United States and creates many harms including reduced tax revenues; damages to the economic interests of legitimate actors; funding for organized-crime and terrorist groups; negative effects of participation in illicit markets, such as violence and incarceration; and reduced effectiveness of smoking-reduction policies, leading to increased damage to health.

To improve data availability for study in this area, we describe and make available a large, novel set of data from empty discarded pack (EDP) studies. In EDP studies, teams of researchers collect all cigarette packs discarded (either in trash receptacles or as litter) in the public spaces of selected neighborhoods. Packs are examined for the absence of local tax stamps, signs of non-authentic packaging or stamps, and other indications of potential tax evasion or counterfeit product. We describe the data and analyze the prevalence of ITTP. Data from 23 collections in 10 U.S. cities from 2010 to 2014 are available, yielding 106,500 observations (by far the largest dataset of its kind available for academic study). Each observation includes dozens of variables covering the brand, location to the ZIP code level, tax status, counterfeit status, and other information about the pack.

There is significant evidence of tax avoidance (up to 74% of packs in New York City). In some markets there is also a significant amount of illicit trade (up to over half the market in New York City), which includes bootlegging, counterfeits, cigarettes produced for illicit-market sales, and cigarettes without any tax stamps. These data will be highly useful for research in illicit markets and organized crime.

Source: Empty Discarded Pack Data and the Prevalence of Illicit Trade in Cigarettes by Alberto Aziani, Jonathan Kulick, Neill Norman, James E. Prieger :: SSRN


The Illusion of Neutrality: Abortion and the Foundations of Justice by Matthew H. Kramer :: SSRN

February 12, 2017

This article will assail one of the central aspirations of Rawlsians and other liberal neutralists in the context of debates over some high-profile issues of political morality. I will ponder chiefly the problem of abortion, but I will also much more briefly treat of some other matters which are similar to that problem in respects that bear directly on my critique of neutralism. As this article will argue, the issues explored herein stymie the efforts of liberal neutralists to prescind from certain vexed points of contention ─ not because those issues render the avoidance of such points of contention especially difficult, but because they render it impossible.

Source: The Illusion of Neutrality: Abortion and the Foundations of Justice by Matthew H. Kramer :: SSRN


Fertility Risk in the Life Cycle by Sekyu Choi :: SSRN

February 12, 2017

In this article, I study fertility decisions with special emphasis on the timing of births and abortions over the life cycle. Given the policy debate regarding abortion availability and recent evidence of its positive impact on women’s outcomes, understanding the fertility process should help guide the discussion. Here, I present a life‐cycle model of consumption–savings and fertility decisions in an environment with uninsurable income shocks and imperfect fertility control. My model presents a framework in which both opportunity costs of child rearing and technological restrictions (in the form of contraception effectiveness) have roles shaping lifetime fertility choices.

Source: Fertility Risk in the Life Cycle by Sekyu Choi :: SSRN


A Foe More Than a Friend: Law and the Health of the American Urban Poor by David Ray Papke, Elise Papke :: SSRN

February 7, 2017

Social epidemiologists insist fundamental social conditions play a large role in the health problems of the American urban poor, but these well-intentioned scholars and practitioners do not necessarily appreciate how greatly law is intertwined with those social conditions. Law helps create and maintain the urban poor’s shabby and unhealthy physical environment, and law also facilitates behaviors among the urban poor that can result in chronic health conditions. Then, too, law shapes and configures the very poverty that consigns the urban poor to the inner city with its limited social capital and political clout. Overall, law creates and perpetuates the health problems of the urban poor more than it eliminates or ameliorates them. Social epidemiologists and others concerned with improving the urban poor’s health might therefore approach law as a foe more than a friend.

Source: A Foe More Than a Friend: Law and the Health of the American Urban Poor by David Ray Papke, Elise Papke :: SSRN


The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Smoking Cessation on Alcohol Consumption by Benjamin Ukert :: SSRN

February 4, 2017

This paper examines the short- and long-term effect of quitting smoking on alcoholic beverage consumption using the Lung Health Study, a randomized smoking cessation program. Building on the theory of rational addiction, I estimate the relationship between smoking and alcohol consumption using several different smoking measures. Moreover, I implement a two-stage Least squares estimation strategy utilizing the randomized smoking cessation program as an instrument. The empirical analysis leads to three salient findings. First, self-reported and clinically verified smoking measures suggest that quitting smoking lowers alcoholic beverages consumption by 11.5%. Second, cigarette consumption dating back up to 60 months affects alcohol consumption, and those with the highest average consumption see the largest increase in alcohol consumption. Lastly, the length of abstaining from smoking decreases alcohol consumption, where participants decrease alcohol consumption by up to 20% from baseline levels after five years of smoking cessation. As a result, these findings suggest that the public health and finance benefits are undervalued in smoking cessations treatments.

Source: The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Smoking Cessation on Alcohol Consumption by Benjamin Ukert :: SSRN