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Principles in Health Economics and Policy$
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Jan Abel Olsen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794837.001.0001

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Exogenous determinants of health

Exogenous determinants of health

(p.91) Chapter 6 Exogenous determinants of health
Principles in Health Economics and Policy

Jan Abel Olsen

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers some determinants that lie completely outside of people’s own control. For such exogenous causes of ill health, the unlucky ones cannot be held responsible for their misfortune. Still, some of these causes are avoidable, in the sense that effective policy interventions exist. Biological variations are in general unavoidable. The chapter investigates two types of determinants associated with early life circumstances. The most systematic health difference that an individual is affected by is whether born a boy or girl: women live 5–6% longer than men. Childhood differences in health follow a strong social gradient, and some figures are included to prove this sad fact. One additional exogenous determinant is the physical environment that affects people’s health. A simple model is presented to show how unhealthy externalities can be reduced by imposing pollution taxes: the polluter pay principle.

Keywords:   exogenous health determinants, gender health disparities, child health inequalities, physical environment, polluter pay principle

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