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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 1 / 2023 (634), Spring

Adjusting the 5C pentagon for better health policymaking: observing the leading behavioural risks factors (diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption)

Ioana Teodora BIŢOIU
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Cristina Elena NICOLESCU
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania

Abstract. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and dietary risks pertain to the goods that can destabilise the market should their production trigger too many negative externalities and not enough research to counterbalance them. Moreover, all three are among the factors that, connected to ever-present risky behaviours, drive the most death and disability combined (the other two risk factors being the metabolic ones and the environmental/occupational risks). Therefore, they are to be considered as relevant to both the perceived health of the population and analysed in relation to the data on smokers, alcohol consumers, and poor diet impact.

However, the design of these health policies must be adapted to the pattern of national culture of Romania, increasing the degree of their acceptance by the population. This is particularly true when less-damage alternatives are present in the market. Policymakers should incentivize their use over more-damaging products. In fact, the existence of better alternatives deepens the market failure that a sub-optimal allocation of resources produces when consumers opt for more damaging products over better goods. Clearly, the objective of policymakers ought to be to differentiate based on the risk profile of the products present on the market.

Keywords: health policy, cost, national culture, behavioural risk factors.

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