Cristina Vilaplana-Prieto

University of Murcia

Cristina Vilaplana-Prieto

Cristina Vilaplana Prieto is a full professor at the University of Murcia and holds a PhD in Economics from the Carlos III University of Madrid. Practically, the beginning of my research career has coincided with the implementation in Spain of the System of Autonomy and Care for Dependency (SAAD), and this has been an incentive to analyze its effects in multiple areas. Moreover, in the past and in the present, I have been and I am an informal caregiver, which I consider is very rewarding experience.


Countries Spain;
Topics Access to care; Care economy; Care inequalities; Care integration/ coordination; Care trajectories; Dementia care and support; Economics of LTC; Financing LTC; Healthcare access in LTC; LTC and people with mental health conditions; LTC Policy; LTC Reforms; LTC Systems; New models of care; Unmet needs; Unpaid / informal care;
Methods Causal inference in Long-Term Care; Comparative policy analysis; Discrete choice analysis; Economic evaluation; Policy analysis; Quantitative data analysis; Quasi-experimental methods; Surveys;
Role Research;
Interest Groups Data Science; Quasi-experimental methods;
Research interests

My main contributions can be framed in the following areas: (i) the analysis of the causes and effects underlying informal care provision (“Informal care motivations and integenerational transfers in European countries” published in Health Economics or “Mental health effects of caregivers respite: subsidies or supports?” published in Journal of Economics of Ageing), (ii) the impact of SAAD on informal care provision (“Does long-term care subsidisation reduce hospital admissions and Utilisation? “published in The Journal of Health Economics or “Does caregiving reform modify spousal early retirement intentions?” published in Journal of Pension Economics and Finance) and (iii) household decisions in the face of a health shock (Health shocks and housing downsizing: How persistent is ‘ageing in place’? published in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization). The latter paper uses longitudinal data from over a decade to study the housing decisions of the elderly in a wide range of European countries. We estimate the effect of health shocks on different indicators of physical and financial housing downsizing (residential mobility, differences in housing value, ratio of housing value to wealth), to examine the persistence of “ageing in place” preferences. Our results suggest that for each decade of life the probability of downsizing decreases by two percentage points. However, the experience of a health shock partially reverses such a culturally ingrained preference for “ageing in place” preference by a non-negligible magnitude. We estimate a 9pp increase in the probability of residential mobility after the onset of a degenerative disease), and an average of 0.6 fewer rooms after the onset of a degenerative disease. These estimates are higher in northern and central European countries.

In 2021, I was granted received the UAM-ASISA Chair award for the best article in Health Economics published in 2020 (“More than one red herring’? Heterogeneous effects of ageing on health care utilization” published in Health Economics). This paper studies the effect of aging, defined as one more year of life, on health care utilization. We separate the direct effect of aging from alternative explanations, such as the presence of comorbidities and endogenous time to death (TTD), which, it is argued, absorb the effect of aging (the so-called “red herring” hypothesis). We use individual end-of-life data from several European countries that record medication use, outpatient and inpatient care, and long-term care. Consistent with the red herring hypothesis, we find that corrected estimates of TTD are significantly different from uncorrected ones, and their effect size exceeds that of an extra year of life, which in turn is moderated by individual comorbidities.

I have also recently begun to develop other lines of research: (i) impact of Covid-19 on mental health, (ii) effect of risk perception and survival expectancy on individual behaviors, as a result of which “The ‘welcomed lockdown’ hypothesis? Mental wellbeing and mobility restrictions” in The European Journal of Health Economics and “Risky restrictions? Mobility restriction effects on risk awareness and anxiety” in Health Policy. In the first of these papers, we study whether differences in individual symptoms of anxiety and depression are explained by the combination of pandemic mortality and the stringency of lockdown policies. Estimates suggest a mean increase in depression (3.95%) and anxiety (10%) relative to the mean level on the day the lockout occurred. However, these effects cancel out when a country has high mortality (“pandemic category 5”).

In the last ten years I have participated part-time in seven projects obtained in competitive calls “Dimensions quantity, quality in growth: competition and international trade” (University of Murcia; 2012-2015), “Trade, product differentiation, competition and welfare” (University of Murcia; 2015-2018), “Global markets, quality, innovation, longevity and welfare” (University of Murcia; 2919-2022), “Microeconomic analysis of individual decisions in the labor and health market: Methods and policy evaluation” (Pompeu Fabra University; 2012-2014), “Health, dependence, work, social protection and welfare around and after retirement age” (Pompeu Fabra University; 2015-2017); “Health, work and social protection throughout life” (Pompeu Fabra University; 2018-2021) and “Health, work and family in the life cycle” (Pompeu Fabra University; 2021-2024). She has also participated in two projects in non-competitive calls: “Analysis of the economic effects of the Etxean Bizi Program” (Diputación Foral de Guipúzcoa; 2021) and “Model of care in residences and day centers for the elderly in the Region of Murcia: a socio-sanitary proposal” (Economic and Social Council of the Region of Murcia; 2022).

Key publications

Costa-Font J, Vilaplana-Prieto C. Health shocks and housing downsizing: How persistent is ‘ageing in place’? Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2022), 204: 490-508.
Costa-Font, J., Knapp, M., Vilaplana-Prieto, C. (2022). The ‘welcomed lockdown’ hypothesis? Mental wellbeing and mobility restrictions. The European Journal of Health Economics 23, 100398.
Costa-Font, J., Vilaplana-Prieto, C. (2022). “Mental health effects of caregivers respite: subsidies or supports? Journal of Economics of Ageing.
Costa-Font, J., Vilaplana-Prieto, C. (2022). Biased survival expectations and behaviours: does domain specific information matter? Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 65, 285–317. Cuartil: Q1. Article influence: 1,819.
Costa-Font, J., Vilaplana-Prieto, C. (2022). Does caregiving reform modify spousal early retirement intentions? Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 1-40. Cuartil: Q2. Article influence: 0,672.
Costa-Font, J., Vilaplana-Prieto, C. (2022). Investing in aged care? long-term care expenditure dynamics and health care spillovers. Empirical Economics 64, 1-30. Cuartil: Q1. Article influence: 0,563.
Costa-Font, J., Jiménez-Martín, S., Vilaplana-Prieto, C. (2022). Do Public Caregiving Subsidies and Supports affect the Provision of Care and Transfers? Journal of Health Economics, 2022, 84, 102639. Cuartil: Q1. Article influence: 3,292
Costa-Font, J., Vilaplana-Prieto, C. (2020). ‘More than one red herring’? Heterogeneous effects of ageing on health care utilization. Health Economics 29(S1), 8-29. Cuartil: Q1.Article influence: 1,598.
Costa-Font, J,. Jiménez-Martín, S., Vilaplana Prieto, C. (2018) Does long-term care subsidization reduce hospital admissions and utilization? Journal of Health Economics, 58. 43-66. Cuartil: Q1. Article influence: 2,110.
Jiménez-Martín, S., Labeaga-Azcona, J., Vilaplana Prieto (2016). Interactions between private health and long-term care insurance and the effects of the crisis: evidence for Spain. Health Economics 25, 159 – 179. Cuartil: Q1. Article influence: 1,366.