Should Popular People Get More Health Care?

This is from Tyler Cowen:

By now it is well known that hanging out with healthy peers predicts (causes?) good health, and unhealthy peers predict (cause?) bad health, for instance as it applies to weight and diet. So what might that mean?

Is it, therefore, socially optimal to invest scarce health care resources in the most popular people ― considering the external effects on the health of others? Tyler has references and links.

Comments (10)

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  1. Joe S. says:


  2. Tom says:

    This is not scientific. Hanging out with healthy peers does not cause better health. This is not a matter of causation, it may have some correlations, marginal correlations, at best.

  3. Sam says:

    Don’t quite understand the logic behind this proposition.

  4. August says:

    If you use a utilitarian calculus then yes. But if you’re feeling egalitarian, then it’s bitter medicine.

  5. Jake says:

    Football players and cheerleaders live well into their 90’s, while nerds die of tetanus? This might not have the effect he’s looking for.

  6. Buster says:

    We would need to devise some method using game theory and social media to allocate scarce resources. Maybe the government should allocate health care credits, which people nominate others to receive. Using Facebook, nominate someone — not a relative or your family — to get health care credits worth $100 per month. By definition, the most popular people would accumulate more credits. But you would have to prohibit charity cases from being nominated by some parameter.

    The same mechanism could be used for allocating public funds for public expenditures. This used to be called Taxpayers’ Choice.

  7. JD says:

    “Football players and cheerleaders live well into their 90′s, while nerds die of tetanus? This might not have the effect he’s looking for.”

    Good point. What social incentives would this create in stage two? We don’t live in a static environment. We need to be thinking ahead.

  8. Lloyd says:

    If popular people can afford it, sure.

  9. Sam says:

    Yes, why not?

  10. Sam says:

    I’m sure they can afford it..