This collection of Michael Grossman's most important papers adds essential background and depth to his work on economic-based determinants of public health.
Grossman organizes his essays into four categories and includes an introduction to each section that addresses the issues covered and the larger stakes of his work.
An afterword discusses the effect of Grossman's approach to subsequent research on health economics and the work others have done to advance and extend his innovative perspective. Determinants of Health begins with a section on the theoretical underpinnings and empirical results of Grossman's groundbreaking health economics model, first introduced in the 1970s.
It follows with sections on the relationship between health and schooling; determinants of infant health, with a special emphasis on public policies and programs; and the economics of unhealthy behaviors.
These essays explain how the economic choices people make influence health and health behaviors. Grossman treats health as a form of human capital, and he shows that public policies and programs that determine the price and availability of key inputs have critical effects on outcomes ranging from birthweight and infant mortality to cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, and obesity.
Grossman's approach has led to a major stream of literature in the field with contributions by the world's leading health economists, including Joseph Newhouse, Jonathan Gruber, Amy Finkelstein, Michael Greenstone, and David Cutler.
His clarity on the economic decisions that lead people to make good or poor health choices is immensely valuable to the debate over how we spend on and legislate health.