Friday, June 30, 2017

Women Get About 25 Minutes More Sleep Per Night Than Men According To Fitbit Data

From Fitbit, Fitbit News, "How Much Sleep Do Fitbit Users Really Get? A New Study Finds Out" by Danielle Kosecki:
The Gender Sleep Gap
For the second year in a row Fitbit data scientists found women get about 25 minutes more sleep on average each night compared to men. The percentage of time spent in each sleep stage was also similar—until you factor in age.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Poor, The Middle Income, And The Wealthy Spend A Large Share Of Income On Luxuries

From MarketWatch, "Low-income families spend 40% of their money on luxuries" by Leslie Albrecht:
The wealthiest families (the top fifth of earners) spend around 65% of their incomes on luxury goods and 35% on necessities, according to the study, which looked at spending habits between 1984 and 2014. Middle-income households weren’t far behind: They spend 50% on luxuries and 50% on necessities.

Even the lowest income families (the bottom fifth of earners) spend 40% on luxuries and 60% on necessities, according to the study’s author, Torsten Slok, chief international economist for Deutsche Bank Securities.

The median household income in the U.S. recently rose to $59,361.

The bottom two fifths of earners made $47,300 or less in 2014, according the Tax Policy Center. The middle two fifths made between $47,300 and $134,300 and the top fifth made more than $134,300.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Canada's Universal Health Care Has Poorer Serious Illness Outcomes And Longer Wait Times For Medical Procedures Than US Health System: US Medicare Coverage Is More Comprehensive Than Canada’s Medicare

From Wharton, Knowledge@Wharton, "Is Canada the Right Model for a Better U.S. Health Care System?":
Still, “there are some things we can learn” by studying the Canadian system, [Mark] Pauly [Wharton professor of health care management] argues. “Number one, although in many ways the system looks like ours, the system has a much greater emphasis on primary care and less emphasis on specialist care and hospitalization, and on complex and costly procedures. And that probably contributes a lot to the lower spending [in Canada], because while primary care can be good for you, expensive procedures such as for cancer may add only a few months of life but cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Pauly adds, “Ordinary people in Canada are healthier than in the U.S., but outcomes for cancer and very serious illnesses are less good there. It’s a great place to live as long as you don’t get too sick, as one critic put it.”

Another fact that might dissuade Americans from duplicating the Canadian model, Pauly adds, is that “Canadians have a longer waiting list for things like joint replacement, so if your hips are killing you in Canada, you may wait months for that [surgery] to happen. In the U.S., the orthopedic surgeons are calling you every day, wondering when you are going to come in for your joint replacement procedure. We probably do too many; they probably do too few. But the safety valve for Canada is that they can always come across the border, and have a procedure done here.”’
[Michael] Decter [a former deputy minister of health for Ontario] says. “Medicare [in the U.S.], which clicks in at 65, is more comprehensive than Canadian Medicare; it pays for a lot of services that we don’t pay for.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Despite Politicians Claims, State Funding Levels Have Little Effect On Public College Tuition

From The Wall Street Journal, "What Causes High Tuition? Don’t Trust Your Intuition: When states cut spending by $100, students at public colleges do pay more—but the increase is only $5." by Preston Cooper:
Tuition goes up no matter what state legislators do. Public colleges, with state boundaries insulating them from competition, and generous federal student aid programs at their disposal, charge as much as they can get away with. Changes in state funding are largely irrelevant.

In a new study, I compare tuition and direct state funding changes at four-year public colleges between 2004 and 2015. This covers both a boom in state funding (2004-08) and a bust (2008-12). Sure enough, the relationship is quite weak. Less than 5% of changes in state funding pass through to higher tuition. In other words, if funding falls by $100 per student, tuition will rise by less than $5.

Colleges do tend to cut spending when state funding goes down. But the expenditures they cut are usually in areas unrelated to instruction, such as research and administration. When funding goes up, colleges largely plow that money into higher spending rather than return it to students through lower tuition.