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Incorporating an economic model in the health impact assessment approach

Iyengar, Madhumita H. (2009) Incorporating an economic model in the health impact assessment approach. In HIA '09 Conference Paper Proceedings, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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Abstract

The current policy decision making in Australia regarding non-health public investments (for example, transport/housing/social welfare programmes) does not quantify health benefits and costs systematically. To address this knowledge gap, this study proposes an economic model for quantifying health impacts of public policies in terms of dollar value. The intention is to enable policy-makers in conducting economic evaluation of health effects of non-health policies and in implementing policies those reduce health inequalities as well as enhance positive health gains of the target population.

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) provides an appropriate framework for this study since HIA assesses the beneficial and adverse effects of a programme/policy on public health and on health inequalities through the distribution of those effects. However, HIA usually tries to influence the decision making process using its scientific findings, mostly epidemiological and toxicological evidence. In reality, this evidence can not establish causal links between policy and health impacts since it can not explain how an individual or a community reacts to changing circumstances. The proposed economic model addresses this health-policy linkage using a consumer choice approach that can explain changes in group and individual behaviour in a given economic set up.

The economic model suggested in this paper links epidemiological findings with economic analysis to estimate the health costs and benefits of public investment policies. That is, estimating dollar impacts when health status of the exposed population group changes by public programmes – for example, transport initiatives to reduce congestion by building new roads/ highways/ tunnels etc. or by imposing congestion taxes. For policy evaluation purposes, the model is incorporated in the HIA framework by establishing association among identified factors, which drive changes in the behaviour of target population group and in turn, in the health outcomes. The economic variables identified to estimate the health inequality and health costs are levels of income, unemployment, education, age groups, disadvantaged population groups, mortality/morbidity etc.

However, though the model validation using case studies and/or available database from Australian non-health policy (say, transport) arena is in the future tasks agenda, it is beyond the scope of this current paper.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 27889
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Health impact assessment, economic model, transport policy, health costs, health inequality
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Health Economics (140208)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 12 Oct 2009 14:51
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2010 00:04

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