Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 06/04: The Relationship Between Economic Conditions, Access to Health Care, and Health Outcomes

Arild Aakvik () and Tor Helge Holmås ()
Additional contact information
Arild Aakvik: University of Bergen, Department of Economics, Postal: Hermann Fossgt. 6, N-5007 Bergen, Norway
Tor Helge Holmås: University of Bergen, Department of Economics and Programme for Health Economics (HEB), Postal: Hermann Fossgt. 6, N-5007 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of access to health care and economic conditions on health outcomes. Fixed-effects models are estimated using municipality data from 1996 to 2001. Health is proxied by total mortality rates divided into three different causes of death. Access to health care is proxied by number of physicians, and other medical personnel. Unemployment, which has been an important determinant of mortality in many studies, is found to have no effect on health outcomes in our data. We also find an insignificant effect of per capital number of GPs on mortality. However, the number of vacant positions (unmet demand) in municipalities increases mortality rates significantly. In a policy simulation, we find that mortality rates can be reduced on average by 0.8 per cent by eliminating all (around 500) vacant GP positions.

Keywords: general practitioners; mortality rates; municipalities; fixed-effect models; mortality; morbidity

JEL-codes: I12; J63

25 pages, February 10, 2004

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