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November 21, 2012

Cluster-Seminar Public Finances and Living Conditions

Examining the Structure of Spatial Health Effects using Hierarchical Bayes Models


November 21, 2012


DIW Berlin im Quartier 110
Room 5.2.010
Mohrenstraße 58
10117 Berlin


joint work with Nicolas R. Ziebarth (Cornell University)

This paper makes use of Hierarchical Bayes Models to model and estimate spatial health effects. We focus on Germany and combine rich individual-level household panel data with administrative county-level information to estimate spatial county-level health dependencies. As dependent variable, we use the generic, continuous, and quasi-objective SF12 health measure. Our findings reveal strong and highly significant spatial dependencies and clusters. The strong and systematic county-level impact is comparable to an age effect on health of up to 30 years. Even 20 years after the peaceful German reunification, we detect a clear spatial East-West health pattern that equals an age impact on health of up to 15 life years.