Monthly Spending Dynamics of the Elderly Following a Health Shock: Evidence from Singapore

Speaker: Terence Cheng

Date: December 8th

Time: 10 AM – 12 PM

Location: Health Sciences Building (155 College Street, Toronto ON), Room HS 108


We use novel longitudinal data from 19 monthly waves of the Singapore Life Panel to examine the short-term dynamics of the effects health shocks have on household health and non-health spending and income by the elderly. The health shocks we study are the occurrence of new major conditions such as cancer, heart problems, and minor conditions (e.g. diabetes, and hypertension). We find that major shocks have large and persistent effects while minor shocks have small and mainly contemporaneous effects. We find that household income reduces following a major shock for males but not females. Major health shocks lead to a decrease in households’ non-health expenditures that is particularly pronounced for cancer and stroke sufferers, driven largely by reductions in leisure spending. The financial impact of major shocks on medical saving account balances occur to those without private health insurance, while the impact is on cash balances for privately insured individuals.

Working Paper

Terence Cheng is a Senior Lecturer with the School of Economics at University of Adelaide. Terence’s research interests are in the fields of Health Economics, Applied Econometrics, and Labour Economics. He has published in international peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Health EconomicsThe Economic JournalHealth Economics, and Social Science and Medicine.

Terence has also consulted for and worked on commission research by both governmental and international organization clients including the World Bank, Victorian Department of Health, and the National Health Workforce Taskforce. He has worked extensively with the MABEL Longitudinal Survey of Australian medical doctors, and is a honorary fellow of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. He is also a research fellow of the Centre for Research on the Economics of Ageing (CREA) at the Singapore Management University. Terence is also an affiliate of the Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) at the University of York. Terence obtained his PhD from the Australian National University.

Any faculty or students interested in meeting with Terence during his visit to IHPME are encouraged to contact him at