Healthcare Spending and Life Expectancy


A central issue in social science is whether governments’ public policy has important implications on the livelihood of people they rule. Columbia University Professor Andrew Gelman claims that governments’ healthcare spending increases their citizens’ life expectancy. This claim is supported by data such as the one displayed in Figure 1.1 Based
on what you have learnt in the module and the figure below, discuss:
1a. What anomaly may have triggered Professor Gelman’s study of the relationship between healthcare spending and life expectancy? Briefly describe the concept of anomaly and how it is related to doing ‘normal science’ according to Thomas Kuhn.
1b. What is Professor Gelman’s causal claim in terms of X and Y? What are the hurdles in establishing a causal relationship between X and Y?
1c. What other forms of evidence beside the data used in Figure 1 could one use to test this causal claim?


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