Publications

Income gradient of pharmaceutical panic buying at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic (Elek, Bíró, Fadgyas-Freyler, 2021)

Health Economics, DOI: 10.1002/hec.4378 We analyze the timing, magnitude, and income dependence of pharmaceutical panic buying around the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary. We use district-level monthly and daily administrative data on detailed categories of pharmaceutical purchases, merge them to income statistics, and estimate multilevel panel models. Our main results are as follows. First, the days of therapy (DOT) of pharmaceutical purchases increased by more than 30% in March 2020, when major lockdown measures were announced. This pattern holds for almost all categories of pharmaceuticals. Second, shortly after the panic reactions, the aggregate amount of pharmaceutical purchases returned...

Time patterns of precautionary health behaviours during an easing phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe (Bíró, Branyiczki, Elek, 2021)

European Journal of Ageing, DOI: 10.1007/s10433-021-00636-4 Using data from the COVID-19 questionnaire of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we investigate the time patterns of precautionary health behaviours of individuals aged 50 years and above during the summer of 2020, an easing phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. We also examine how these health behaviours differ by the presence of chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol level, heart disease, diabetes or chronic bronchitis, which can be considered as risk factors for COVID-19. Our results suggest that while on average, people became less precautious during the...

The impact of sweet food tax on producers and household spending—Evidence from Hungary (Bíró 2021)

Agricultural Economics, DOI: 10.1111/agec.12634 Since 2011, a wide range of unhealthy food and drink are subject to a specific excise tax in Hungary. We analyze how this tax affected the revenue, sales volume, personnel costs, and size of sweet food producers, and compare these results to estimated effects on household spending on sugary food. We base our analysis on administrative data sets of firm level indicators, and survey data on household spending. We apply the estimation method of difference-in-differences, where firms producing untaxed processed food (in the firm level analysis) and household spending on food categories directly not affected by the...

Mass media coverage and vaccination uptake: evidence from the demand for meningococcal vaccinations in Hungary (Bíró & Szabó-Morvai, 2021)

The European Journal of Health Economics, DOI: 10.1007/s10198-021-01296-y We estimate the effect of mass media coverage of the meningococcal disease on the uptake of meningococcal vaccinations in Hungary. Our analysis is based on administrative county-level data on vaccination purchases linked to indicators of media coverage of the meningococcal disease and to administrative records of disease incidence. Using geographical and time variations in these indicators, our fixed effects estimates indicate a strong positive effect of mass media coverage of the disease on the rate of vaccination with all types of the meningococcal vaccine. At the same time, we do not find evidence...

Life expectancy inequalities in Hungary over 25 years: The role of avoidable deaths (Bíró, Hajdu, Kertesi, Prinz 2021)

Population Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00324728.2021.1877332 Using mortality registers and administrative data on income and population, we develop new evidence on the magnitude of life expectancy inequality in Hungary and the scope for health policy in mitigating this. We document considerable inequalities in life expectancy at age 45 across settlement-level income groups, and show that these inequalities have increased between 1991–96 and 2011–16 for both men and women. We show that avoidable deaths play a large role in life expectancy inequality. Income-related inequalities in health behaviours, access to care, and healthcare use are all closely linked to the inequality in life expectancy.

The long-term impact of restricted access to abortion on children’s socioeconomic outcomes (Hajdu, Hajdu 2021)

Plos One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248638 We examine the long-term consequences of restricted access to abortion following a change in the Hungarian abortion law in 1974. Due to a change that restricted access to legal abortions, the number of induced abortions decreased from 169,650 to 102,022 between 1973 and 1974, whereas the number of live births increased from 156,224 to 186,288. We analyze the effects on the adult outcomes of the affected cohort of newborns (educational attainment, labor market participation, teen fertility). We use matched large-scale, individual-level administrative datasets of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (population census 2011; live birth register), and we...

Temperature, climate change, and human conception rates: evidence from Hungary (Hajdu, Hajdu 2021)

Journal of Population Economics, DOI: 10.1007/s00148-020-00814-1 In this paper, we examine the relationship between temperature and human conception rates and project the impacts of climate change by the mid-twenty-first century. Using complete administrative data on 6.8 million pregnancies between 1980 and 2015 in Hungary, we show that exposure to hot temperatures reduces the conception rate in the first few weeks following exposure, but a partial rebound is observed after that. We project that with absent adaptation, climate change will increase seasonal differences in conception rates and annual conception rates will decline. A change in the number of induced abortions and spontaneous...

Post-conception heat exposure increases clinically unobserved pregnancy losses (Hajdu, Hajdu 2021)

Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-81496-x Evidence of the relationship between temperature during pregnancy and human embryo mortality is limited. Most importantly, the literature lacks causal estimations and studies on early pregnancy losses. Here, we estimate the impact of early pregnancy temperature exposure on the clinically unobserved pregnancy loss rate. We use administrative data of clinically observed pregnancies from more than three decades for Hungary. We apply an empirical approach that allows us to infer the impact of temperature on the clinically unobserved pregnancy loss rate from the estimated effects on the clinically observed conception rate. The results show that exposure to hot...

Regional differences in diabetes across Europe – regression and causal forest analyses (Elek, Bíró 2020)

Economics & Human Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2020.100948 We examine regional differences in diabetes within Europe, and relate them to variations in socio-economic conditions, comorbidities, health behaviour and diabetes management. We use the SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe) data of 15 European countries and 28,454 individuals, who participated both in the 4th and 7th (year 2011 and 2017) waves of the survey. First, we estimate multivariate regressions, where the outcome variables are diabetes prevalence, diabetes incidence, and weight loss due to diet as an indicator of management. Second, we study the heterogeneous impact of demographic, socio-economic, health and lifestyle...