Dr. Okunade Published in Health Economics

For release:  August 25, 2015

Dr. Albert A. Okunade, professor of Economics, recently had his paper published in Health Economics. The paper entitled "Determinants of U.S. Prescription Drug Utilization Using County Level Data" was coauthored with Dr. Thierry Nianogo, a recent FCBE Economics doctoral graduate and current research economist at the United Nations, Dr. Weiwei Chen, a former FCBE Economics doctoral student and current assistant professor at Florida International University, and Demba Fofana, a current FCBE Economics and Statistics (CAS) doctoral student.

In this paper, the authors specified and used a parametrically richer Box-Cox power family of transformations econometric methodology for estimating prescription drug utilization models. They partitioned the 2011 data observations of the U.S. counties into low, medium, and high utilization groups. The findings, based on maximum likelihood regression parameter estimates of the Box-Cox power family model, showed the income elasticity to vary across utilization groups and the economic nature of prescription drugs is detected to vary across these groups. Findings suggested that policies targeting prescription drug use should factor in the differences in utilization rates. The research was the first to use the most recent and less aggregated U.S. county data observations partitioned into different utilization levels (as opposed to the more commonly used but noisy expenditure data) in the context of the more flexible Box-Cox modeling methodology.